Wednesday, September 25, 2013
In 2002, Jack Whittaker, West Virginia resident, won the largest ever Powerball jackpot of $314 million dollars. After winning the jackpot Whittaker said he would pay tithes to his church, start a charitable foundation, and provide jobs in the community. "I'm not going to buy anything for myself," Whittaker explained at a news release. "The very first thing I'm going to do is, I'm going to go home. I'm going to sit down and make out three checks to three pastors for 10% of this check. That's the very first thing I'm going to do." Because Whittaker was already a millionaire via his construction company, he believed the money would not change anything.
However, in 2007 Whittaker's life has taken a devastating turn. He suffered many tragic personal losses. In addition, Whittaker's windfall was completely gone. He issued a statement to the Circuit Court explaining, "On 9-11, a team of crooks went to 12 different (City National Banks) cashed 12 (checks) and got all my money." Whittaker is unable to pay outstanding claims against him because he is broke.
Shockingly, almost 70% of all lottery winners lose their winnings within a few years. Whittaker's only advice to future lottery winners is to stay anonymous. Only six states permit lottery winners to avoid the state's limelight. Those states are: Delaware, Kansas North Dakota, South Carolina, Maryland, and Ohio. Michigan does have some exceptions but Powerball winners do not qualify.
See CNN Staff Sudden Lottery Fortune No Panacea, CNN, Sep. 24, 2012.
Special thanks to David S. Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm) for bringing this article to my attention.