Money

You won $310.5M in Powerball — now what? Lessons from previous winners

Money can't buy happiness. For some former lottery winners, it can bring bankruptcy, prison time and gambling addictions instead.

A glance at the lives of some former instant millionaires is providing lessons for Julie Leach, a fiberglass factory worker who immediately quit her job after winning a $310.5 million Powerball prize:

  • William Post's $16.2 million brought him debt, despair and eventually bankruptcy.
  • Rhoda Toth ended up in federal prison for tax fraud involving her $13 million win.
  • Willie Seeley says hitting the $450 million jackpot was the worst thing that ever happened to him.

Former NBC employee Jacki Cisneros admits, “Sometimes I do wish for the simplicity of life before the lottery."

But Mary and Brian Lohse, who spent some of their $202 million win to help their community of Bondurant, Iowa, said they took lessons from former winners.

RELATED: Jacki Cisneros in 2010 — 'I can’t imagine not working'

"We certainly heard about people who have done bad things and have gone off the deep end. But we were pretty determined not to do that," said Brian Lohse.

TODAY
Mary and Brian Lohse used their winnings to build the only grocery store in their hometown, along with a football stadium at the local high school.

Those who successfully warded off bad luck after their lottery wins advised finding trustworthy financial advisors and follow a sound plan.

Leach said she's ready.

“I don’t want it to be a curse. I want it to be a blessing.”

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