Top 10 Dumbest Lottery Winners

Script written by Nathan Sharp For most, millions of dollars would set them up for life. And then there are these people. Join as we count down our picks for the top ten dumbest lottery winners. For this list, we're looking at the stupidest winners of a lottery jackpot - no matter how big the amount - that blew their money on useless things or dumb decisions. Special thanks to our user Stine Pedersen for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Dumbest Lottery Winners

For most, millions of dollars would set them up for life. And then there are these people. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the top ten dumbest lottery winners.
For this list, we're looking at the stupidest winners of a lottery jackpot - no matter how big the amount - that blew their money on useless things or dumb decisions. We're basing our picks on how much money was lost and how ridiculous the reason for losing it was.

#10: Christina Goodenow

Christina Elizabeth Goodenow’s name was certainly indicative of her situation – at first anyway. All seemed good now as Christina won $1 million on a Million Dollar Jackpot ticket, which is something most of us would deem impossible. But wait - this is the dumbest lottery winnerslist! So, what went wrong? The woman bought the ticket using the credit card of her boyfriend’s late mother, which is, you know, a crime. Investigators discovered this faux-pas, charged her with identity theft and fraud, took away the money, and threw her in jail. Talk about a major buzzkill.

#9: Jose Antonio Cua-Toc

Actually, no, THIS is a buzzkill. And a whole roller coaster of emotions. Tony Cua-Toc was an illegal immigrant living in Georgia when he won $750,000 playing the lottery. Because he wasn't a citizen, he had his boss, Erick Cervantes, cash the ticket for him. However, the Fort Valley business owner kept the money for himself, claiming that he gave Cua-Toc money to buy the ticket for him. But the story doesn’t end there; after suing Cervantes for the money and winning back the $750,000, Cua-Toc now faces deportation after his undocumented status was discovered. Sounds like there might be a lesson here: maybe you shouldn’t play the lottery if you’re living in a country illegally…

#8: Sharon Tirabassi

After having to live on welfare and then going on to later win $10 million, it's understandable that you'd want to splurge a little. However, a woman from Hamilton, Ontario learned the hard way that there's a big difference between splurging and spending all your money till you have almost nothing left. After Lotto Super 7 winner Sharon Tirabassi spent her truckload of cash on a mansion, fancy cars, designer clothes, flamboyant vacations, and you know, typical rich people stuff, her stash was all too soon depleted. Nine years later, and she is now working part time to support her family and living in a rented home with her 6 children.

#7: Willie Hurt

Yes, we assume he has been hurting after losing all his money. OK, we're done with the puns. In 1989, William Hurt won $3.1 million in the Michigan Lottery, but rather than use that money to advance his life, he did the complete opposite. Within two years, he was in the middle of a divorce (which took a chunk of his money), lost custody of his children, and had already thrown away most of his fortune on drugs - specifically crack cocaine. Oh, and he was also charged with the murder of his girlfriend. This one is actually kind of sad, now that we think about it.

#6: Ibi Roncaioli

While these stories all have unhappy endings, Ibi Roncaioli’s is particularly sad. After winning $5 million, Ibi spent the money lavishly, buying her son a house, going on gambling sprees, and giving another son from a previous marriage around $2 million. After carelessly spending their winnings, and hiding this, as well as a few other personal problems, Ibi’s husband Joseph was found guiltry of her murder her via the injection of a lethal concoction of painkillers – alcohol was also found in her system when she died. Much to the chagrin of Ibi’s family, he was sentenced to only seven years in prison in 2008.

#5: Denise Rossi

When we see selfish behavior like this, it can be hard to not laugh at the misfortune that follows. After winning $1.3 million in the CaliforniaLottery, Denise Rossi filed for divorce from her husband Thomas Rossi – without telling him about it - eleven days later. This obviously left him understandably perplexed. Her lack of disclosure was an effort to keep all the cash to herself. But after he found out, Thomas sued Denise, and because she had violated state asset disclosure laws, he was awarded every cent of her $1.3 million jackpot... which left Denise poor and single. What can we say? Karma’s a bitch.

#4: Americo Lopes

Workplace lottery pools are a common thing, but they can certainly cause some unnecessary drama. A group of construction workers from New Jersey pooled their money, and one of them, Americo Lopes, had the job of buying the tickets. After they won a hefty $38.5 million in 2009, he cashed in the ticket and kept the winnings for himself… and promptly quit his job. After a co-worker did some investigating and found out the truth though, Lopes was taken to court and ordered to split the money between himself and his 5 ex-co-workers. Though with such greedy behavior, maybe he should have lost it all…

#3: Michael Carroll

This guy is such an idiot that they made documentary about him! Young Englishman Michael Carroll hit the jackpot at only 19 years old, winning nearly £10 million, which is roughly $14 million USD. After claiming that he wouldn't spend the money lavishly, he...spent the money lavishly. He bought a £50,000 BMW, a Mercedes, a lakeside mansion, steel balls (which he used to catapult into shop windows), and lots of cocaine and hookers. After eventually running out of money due to his excessive partying, the now-divorced lotto lout has since taken a job in a biscuit factory.

#2: Andrew Jackson ‘Jack’ Whittaker, Jr.

In 2002, Jack Whittaker won an astronomical $314.9 million, which was, at the time the largest jackpot ever won by a single person in American history. Whittaker chose the cash option of $113 million, but it all went bye-bye. While Whittaker donated large sums of money to charity, he also became careless. He lost $545,000 in cash after thieves broke into his car, his granddaughter’s boyfriend was found dead of a drug overdose in his house, with his granddaughter herself also found dead a year later, and he was sued by a casino for $1.5 million in bounced checks. Finally, in September 2006, it was alleged that Whittaker claimed thieves took the rest of his fortune by cashing in multiple checks.

No honorable mentions this time around.

#1: Evelyn Adams

Most people would be extremely lucky to win the lottery even once. New Jersey resident Evelyn Adams struck gold not once but twice – and in consecutive years! - winning a combined $5.4 million. However, she squandered this luck, as she was a compulsive gambler and lost most of her money in Atlantic City. She also shared her funds with family and friends. And so, before she knew it, she was flat broke and living in a trailer park. Even though she was being generous, you just can’t win the lottery twice and blow it - that's just spitting in the face of luck!
Do you agree with our list? Do you know of any stupid lottery winners? For more thoughtful top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to


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