MONEY can’t buy you happiness – but it can send you spiralling into a life of crime, if these former Lottery winners are anything to go by.
Unfortunately the unexpected vices triggered by a windfall of a few million quid has seen some big winners end up on the wrong side of the law.
AlbanpixMichael Carroll, known as ‘King of the Chavs’, was jailed three times after winning the lottery[/caption]
The dad of three was sentenced to 150 hours’ unpaid work and a year’s supervision.
Across the world other disgraced lotto lags have ended up on a path of self destruction, from investing winnings into a crystal meth ring to a fraudulent father-and-son duo…
Cashing in 14,000 winning tickets
Massachusetts LotteryAli Jaafar was accused of a decade-long £16.7million lottery and tax fraud scheme[/caption]
Massachusetts LotteryHis son Yousef was his accomplice, and both were later jailed[/caption]
In May 2023, a Massachusetts father-and-son duo were exposed for running a decade long £16.7million lottery and tax fraud scheme.
In the US it is a legal requirement to identify lottery winners and withhold any outstanding taxes and child support payments before paying out prizes.
Ali Jaafar, 63, and his son, Yousef, 29, would purchase winning lottery tickets from people across the state who sold them for a cash discount instead of claiming their prizes from the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, to avoid being identified.
A court heard Ali started the scheme in 2011, with Yousef joining in 2013. Over the course of nine years they cashed more than 14,000 lottery tickets totalling more than £16m.
The pair also received about £950,000 in tax refunds by reporting false gambling losses.
To avoid detection, the Jaafars paid “runners” to unlawfully claim lottery prizes on their behalf.
Following their arrest the men were found guilty and were ordered to pay £4.7million in restitution and forfeit their profits.
Ali was sentenced to five years in prison and Yousef was jailed for four.
Crystal meth ring
Georgia State Lottery PressroomLotto winner Ronnie Music Jr was jailed for his involvement in a drug ring[/caption]
Ronnie Music Jr., from Georgia, was flush after winning a whopping £2.3m on a scratch card in 2015.
But rather than go on a spending spree, he ploughed his cash into a drug trafficking ring.
His winnings reportedly helped front a drug operation being run from Calhoun State Prison, which trafficked crystal meth across the US.
In September 2015, a number of Ronnie’ s co-conspirators were arrested after attempting to sell large quantities of meth allegedly supplied by him.
A court document stated: “Mr Music observed the transaction and the bust, but did not stop his involvement in the drug business.”
Ronnie was arrested not long after and was found to be in possession of meth and £17,000 in cash.
Cops raided his home and found 11 firearms including assault-style weapons, a prohibited sawed-off shotgun and a stolen revolver.
Ronnie pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to traffic large amounts of methamphetamine and to being a felon in possession of firearms. On April 3, 2017 he was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison.
Willie Hurt won £2.8million in 1989, two years later he was charged with murder
Willie Hurt hit the jackpot in 1989, bagging £2.8m – but shortly afterwards the Michigan man’s life spiralled.
He chose to receive the sum in £123,000 instalments every month for 20 years, but within a year he was hooked on cocaine and divorced.
In 1991, his uncontrollable behaviour led to a fateful evening with a woman called Wendy Kimmey at the Burkewood Inn.
The pair downed alcohol and snorted drugs and ended up having an argument, allegedly when he ran out of cocaine.
Wendy was later found dead in the hotel room with a bullet wound in her head.
Willie turned himself in to Ingham County police and was sent for psychiatric evaluation and charged with murder. The verdict was never made public.
Lottery Winner Ibi Roncaioli was poisoned by her husband Joseph Roncaioli
When Ontario woman Ibi Roncaioli and a friend won £5.8m on the Lotto in 1991 they amicably chose to split it in half.
But what followed was a string of secrets, lies – and eventually, murder.
Ibi decided to spend her cash without telling her husband, Hungarian-born gynaecologist Joseph Roncaioli.
Jealousy and confusion took over and in 2003, Dr Roncioli poisoned Ibi with painkillers and she died. He was subsequently convicted of manslaughter in 2008.
Prosecutors said in his trial that the doctor, 72, was upset his wife splashed the cash without leaving a chunk for their retirement.
It was also alleged she gave away £1.5m on a son whose existence was a secret from her other two boys; £637K to a son she had with Roncaioli, and roughly the same amount to a son from a different father, who lived with them.
The court heard the former beauty shop owner was a secret alcoholic and the couple led largely separate lives in their mansion, which had an indoor swimming pool and sauna.
The doctor’s defense argued that his wife’s drug and alcohol issues were an “intervening cause” in her death, according to The Toronto Star.
‘It’s a curse’
News Group Newspapers LtdNational Lottery winner Lee Ryan with one of his flash cars in 1995[/caption]
News Group Newspapers LtdLottery winner Lee Ryan leaves HMP Stafford after serving a prison sentence[/caption]
Lottery winner Lee Ryan was dubbed the ‘Lotto Lag’ when he landed his jackpot while awaiting trial for handling stolen cars.
But the Brit later labelled the millions he won a “curse” because of the turmoil that followed, which included two divorces and two years sleeping rough.
The now 62-year-old took home a mammoth £6.5m in 1995, but couldn’t enjoy it until nine months later as he was banged up.
On his release Ryan splurged his cash on a £1m country mansion, a £125,000 plane, £235,000 Bell JetRanger helicopter and a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley, Ferrari, Porsche and BMW, all with personalised number plates.
But it all went horribly wrong when his relationships with friends and family became fractured, his housekeeper nicked £40K, an arsonist targeted his Ferrari and a kidnap plot forced him to hire an ex-SAS soldier as a bodyguard to protect his kids.
In 2003 Ryan and wife Karen split, and he later moved to Kyrgyzstan to be with his 24-year-old student girlfriend, Jika.
There he squandered £2m on failed business ventures and property investments, and an attempt to build a fish farm fell foul of local mafia.
By 2010, Ryan was on his second divorce and returned to London with nothing but a sleeping bag. He spent the next two years sleeping on the streets.
In August this year he revealed he’s now happily working as a painter and decorator.
‘King of the Chavs’
PA:Press AssociationMichael Carroll won £9.7million in 2002[/caption]
PA:Press AssociationCarroll soon lost control of his life, serving three separate prison sentences[/caption]
When Michael Carroll threw a party, the neighbours certainly knew about it.
Naked women reportedly carried trays of cocaine and on occasion the festivities descended into an orgy where he bedded eight women at a time.
It came after the former refuse worker won £9.7m on the lotto and vowed to spend every penny of it.
Dubbing himself “King of Chavs”, Carrol spent his winnings on drugs, booze, a six-bedroom house in Norfolk and even invested £1m in the Glasgow Rangers.
He also had to pay out his ex-wife £1.4m in a divorce settlement.
Since winning big in 2002, Carrol has served three prison sentences and appeared in court more than 30 times for offences including dangerous driving and affray.
Winning ticket to jail
Barry Shell was arrested on the day he won the lottery
As Barry Shell smiled for the camera after winning the £2.5million jackpot, he had no idea it would tip off the cops.
In July 2009, the Brampton man had just picked up his winnings from Ontario Lottery and Gaming headquarters when things took a turn for the worse.
Police promptly arrested him on outstanding criminal charges and he was taken into custody.
A warrant for Shell’s arrest was issued after he failed to show up for court in 2003.
He later faced charges of failing to appear, theft under £3,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.
FacebookJackpot winner Joshua Winslet blew his money on drugs and was eventually arrested[/caption]
Courts SAA picture taken by police during a raid on his home[/caption]
After winning an incredible £13million in the lottery in 2017, aged 22, Aussie Joshua Winslet blew his fortune in just three years.
Enjoying a taste of the high life, he ditched his day job and turned to a life of debauchery.
Joshua’s parents managed his winnings through a trust fund, but it didn’t stop his drug addiction.
Shocking images released by South Australia’s District Court showed the inside of his trashed New Port mansion.
Empty bottles of booze, bongs, bags of MDMA, cocaine and marijuana appeared to be littered around the bachelor pad.
Another snap showed a large bowl filled with a mystery white powder inside his fridge, alongside packs of Red Bull and beer.
Cops raided the “party house” in 2020 and found an unlicensed firearm Mauser handgun and ammunition hidden in his bathroom.
A horde of illegal substances including 28.3 grams of MDMA and 2.27g of cocaine were also seized.
Investigators received a tip-off the lottery winner was allegedly manufacturing drugs at the property.
Winslet, now 27, pleaded guilty to supplying MDMA and possessing a firearm without a licence.
The court heard how his arrest served as “a wake up call” and he was sentenced to three years and nine months, with a non-parole period of 18 months.
The sentence was suspended on a two-year good behaviour bond, with supervision.Leave a comment