Inside the deadly lottery curse with one winner shot and buried under cement slab and another killed after $20M win

FOR millions around the US winning the lottery would be a dream come true.

But for those who have actually won the huge jackpots, the money can sometimes spell trouble.


Winners have spoken about how it negatively affected their lives with one saying he "wished he had torn up the ticket."

Another said the win "wasn't always what it's cracked up to be."

Convenience store worker Evelyn Adams added: "I won the American dream but I lost it, too. It was a very hard fall. It's called rock bottom."

Others have even ended up dead after claiming the cash.

Here The Sun looks at the most the shocking events to follow huge wins in the US and the so called curse of the lottery.

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BURIED IN YARD

In 2009 Abraham Shakespeare won $30 million on the lottery in Florida.

Months after winning he was shot dead with his body turning up in early 2010 buried in a yard under a slab of cement.

DeeDee Moore was later accused of befriending Abraham following his win before stealing his winnings and killing him.

Moore was was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of his murder, ABC reports.

Judge Emmet Battles said: "After trial and listening to all of this over two weeks, words that were said cool, calculated, manipulated.

"Abraham Shakespeare was your prey and victim.

"Money was the route of evil you brought to Abraham."

KIDNAPPED & SHOT

Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in 1996 after playing the Illinois lottery.

Nine years later he was kidnapped and shot dead.

His sister-in-law Victoria Jackson and her boyfriend Nathaniel Jackson were blamed by prosecutors for the killing.

A court heard that Dampier was forced into a van with his hands tied.

Nathaniel is said to have told Victoria: "Shoot him or I'll shoot you."

Victoria – who is said to have been having an affair with Dampier – allegedly pulled the trigger, killing him.

The murder scene was a home Dampier bought, DailyMail.com reports.

His wife Crystal said of the lottery: "It's a curse."

DIVORCE AFTER 20 YEARS

In 2004 Juan Rodriguez won $149 million on the Mega Millions.

The bankrupt parking attendant had recently split from his wife of 20 years when he scooped the jackpot.

They reunited after his win – but split again 10 days later when his wife filed for divorce.

The couple split their winnings, The New York Post reports.

LOST IT ALL

Convenience store worker Evelyn Adams, from New Jersey, won two different multi-million jackpots in the span of just four months.

She scooped $5.4million after hitting the jackpot twice but lost it all when her winnings streaks turned into a serious gambling addiction.

Adams scored $3.9million in October 1985 and another $1.4million in February of 1986, making her the first person in the history of the New Jersey Lottery to win multiple million-dollar jackpot prizes.

After winning her first prize, Adams paid off bills and set up a fund to pay college tuition for her daughter, in addition to buying a new car and giving gifts to those close to her.

But by 2012 Adams had spent her winnings, having lost her money to gambling in slot machines Atlantic City casinos and a string of unsuccessful business deals.

"Winning the lottery isn't always what it's cracked up to be," she said, now reported to be living in a trailer.

"I won the American dream but I lost it, too. It was a very hard fall. It's called rock bottom."

"Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language, 'no.'

"I wish I had the chance to do it all over again. I'd be much smarter about it now," says Adams who also lost money at the slot machines in Atlantic City.

"I was a big time gambler," admits Adams. "I didn't drop a million dollars, but it was a lot of money.

"I made mistakes, some I regret, some I don't. I'm human. I can't go back now so I just go forward, one step at a time."

GRANDDAUGHTER DEAD

Andrew 'Jack' Whittaker Jr – who won a staggering $315 million on Christmas night in 2002 – once said he had wished he torn up the ticket.

Whittaker, who died aged 72 in 2020, had become an instant celebrity when he claimed what was then the largest US lottery jackpot won by a single ticket.

He opted for the lump-sum payout of $113.4 million after taxes, and flew off to New York with his family in a private jet to appear on network TV morning shows.

But in the years that followed he suffered devastating personal tragedies.

Whittaker, who was wearing cowboy hats, split from his wife.

A friend of his drug-addicted granddaughter was then found dead at his home in 2004.

Three months later, his 17-year-old granddaughter had also died.

Brandi Bragg was found dead in a van, hidden by a boyfriend who panicked when he found her dead, The Associated Press reported.

An autopsy did not pinpoint a cause, the outlet added.

Whittaker's daughter, Ginger Whittaker Bragg, then died in 2009 at age 42 after struggling for years with cancer.

And in 2016, he lost a Virginia home to a fire.

He also struggled with drinking and gambling and his home and car were repeatedly burglarized.

And at a strip club, thieves broke into his Lincoln Navigator and stole a briefcase stuffed with $245,000 and three $100,000 cashiers’ checks.

That time, at least, he caught a break — the briefcase was later found, with the money still inside.

Whittaker – who had been a self made millionaire before his Powerball win – was charged twice with driving while under the influence and sued repeatedly, once by three female casino employees who accused him of assault.

“I’m only going to be remembered as the lunatic who won the lottery,” Whittaker said.

“I’m not proud of that. I wanted to be remembered as someone who helped a lot of people.”


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