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Six Times African-Americans Won the Lottery and Their Cautionary Stories About Overnight Fortune

win the lottery It should always be a joyous occasion. Still, for many African-American winners, it has caused more harm than good, with several even losing their lives over their winnings.

In the spirit of the recently won $2.04 billion Powerball grand prize in California, the shadow room takes an in-depth look at six black lottery jackpot winners, their stories of sudden wealth, and the drama that accompanied it.

And about 70 percent of all lottery winners, black or white, lose it all in five years, regardless of how lucky they get, statistics show.

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It is important to note that a recent the shadow room‘s report found that the lottery has been systemically racist in the way it is aggressively marketed to black and low-income communities.

Also, the shadow room does not encourage or endorse the lottery, and encourages anyone with a gambling problem to call 1-800-522-4700/see the National Council on Problem Gamblingwhere you can find state-by-state help.

1.Abraham Shakespeare

The tragic story of Abraham Shakespeare started off quite well, after he found himself winning $31 million in the Florida state lottery in 2006.

He opted for a lump sum payment, which means he would generally take home less than if he had paid in installments, and ended up taking home $17 million after taxes. Still not bad. The drama began almost immediately for Mr. Shakespeare, who was described by friends and family as loving, generous and trustworthy, perhaps to a fault.

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Shortly after winning, a co-worker accused him of stealing the winning ticket and he was put on trial. The judge ultimately ruled in Shakespeare’s favor and allowed him to keep his lottery winnings.

Despite the newfound wealth, or perhaps because of it, Shakespeare’s life continued to spiral out of control.

He eventually befriended a white woman named Dorice Donegan, “Dee Dee” Moore, who had promised to help him sort out his money so he wouldn’t spend it overnight.

But instead of helping him, she was secretly swindling him out of money and depleting his wealth.

In 2009, his family declared him missing, and in January 2010, his body was found buried under a concrete slab in an acquaintance’s backyard. Moore stood trial in Tampa in 2012 for the shooting death of lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare sevenadoingd and was ultimately found guilty.

He is currently serving a life sentence.

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2. Cynthia Stafford

Stafford was struggling to raise five children and take care of his aging father when he won a whopping $129 million in the California lottery in 2007, according to Lotto Analyst.

Before winning, she had described herself as a moderately regular lottery player. After taxes, she took home a payment of $67 million, according to reports at the time. The website reports that Stafford was generous, perhaps excessively, and actually split the money with her father and her brother equally.

She, of course, splurged a bit, as any lottery winner would. She bought a 4,000-square-foot home in upscale Pacific Palisades. Next, she got a new car, a used Mercedes-Benz R-class.

Stafford also hired a personal trainer and traveled to Paris with some of her winnings before beginning to give back and donate to charities she had admired for years.

Since then, she has become a businesswoman and philanthropist in the Los Angeles area. Stafford is CEO of her own production company, Queen Nefertiti Productions, and is active in the Geffen Playhouse, a nonprofit performing arts theater in Los Angeles.

She admits that she still plays the lottery to this day.

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Pictured: Jonathan Vargas, 19, of Gaston, South Carolina (Photo by Erik Campos/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

3. Jonathan Vargas

In 2008, 19-year-old Jonathan Vargas of Gaston, South Carolina, won a $35 million Powerball jackpot. Vargas, South Carolina’s first winner, chose most of his numbers based on the ages or birthdays of his family members.

He opted to take home a lump sum of around $17.3 million after taxes. With the money, he and a few partners created “Wrestlicious,” an all-female wrestling promotion. He even promised to buy his mother a house with the proceeds.

Of the many young lottery winners that have emerged over the years, only a few seem to have sensible plans for the fortunes they are lucky enough to win.

The then-teenager seemed incredibly mature in his post-victory plans. However, he eventually lost it all through a series of wrong decisions and spending large amounts of money on cool clothes and jewelry.

After buying a mansion, Jonathan poured his money into countless schemes that never seemed to work. The final straw for Jonathan’s wealth came in the form of a television show that Jonathan wanted to launch.

lottery analyst he described reports that he has largely remained out of the spotlight in recent years.

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4.Doris Murray

Doris Murray was a loving 42-year-old mother of four living in South Carolina when she was blessed with a winning $5 million lottery ticket.

Murray’s story is another tragic and sobering one: In 2008, her ex-boyfriend Derrick Lorenzo Stanley, of East Dublin, stabbed her to death before she could enjoy her winnings.

Authorities say Murray’s family called police after they saw 51-year-old Derrick Stanley leave his home with blood on his face. Stanley was caught after leading police on a car chase.

At the time of the case, WLTX reported that an investigator posited that the two may have argued after she told him she wanted to break off their relationship and be friends.

The Laurens County sheriff says Murray “lived by low standards” despite his winnings after winning the award on his birthday in April 2007.

According to the outlet, he chose to take it in annual payments of $172,000 over 20 years to set up a trust fund for his grandchildren.

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The lottery said the money would continue to be paid out to whoever is in Murray’s will.

Stanley was ultimately charged with Murray’s death.

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Solomon Jackson Jr. of Columbia, South Carolina is the winner of the $259.9 million Powerball jackpot on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009. (Photo by Gerry Melendez/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

5. Solomon Jackson Jr.

In 2009, retired South Carolina state employee Solomon Jackson Jr. became the winner of a $259.9 million Powerball jackpot,

The Columbia native spent just two dollars on the lottery and was all smiles during a press conference when he claimed the $260 million Powerball jackpot.

“For once in my life, I really experienced the old saying, pinch me to see if I’m still alive or if this is real,” said Solomon Jackson Jr.

At the time, South Carolina Education Lottery officials said the Powerball jackpot was the largest ever won on a ticket purchased in the state, which had the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country.

Jackson shared few details about himself or his financial plans, but revealed that he was married with ten siblings. However, he did not reveal how many children he had nor did he provide his age.

He also did not disclose whether he would take his winnings in a lump sum of $129 million or in annual payments over 30 years, which would have netted him an additional $88 million after taxes.

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He said he had been an assistant supervisor for the state Department of Revenue until his early retirement in 2000 and was using his spare time to go back to school and earn a degree from Midlands Technical College.

6. Bryan Woods

Perhaps the happiest story belongs to former mechanic Mr. Bryon Woods and his wife. The couple who won $49 million in the Texas lottery in July 2003.

He decided on the annuity, which provided him with $2.5 million up front and a payment of just $2 million per year for the next 24 years.

Woods took his winnings and opened a historic motel in Texas called the Tee Pee Motel. He bought the property for $60,000 and did $1.6 million in renovations.

Initially, the couple did not even know they had won the jackpot until a phone call from a family member told them that the winning ticket had been purchased at the store where they had purchased their ticket. Bryon reportedly checked the numbers on his computer.

“I started yelling and yelling, ‘We’re millionaires! We are millionaires!’” she said.

Bryon, then 38, quit his job as a diesel mechanic, and Barbara, 46, did the same with the J&K’s Corner store where she worked.

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At the time, they told the press that they wanted to give college scholarships to local students.



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