While it’s easy to imagine that all lottery winners live happily ever after in their large ivory towers, that isn’t reality. Regardless of their financial status, these are human beings just like the rest of us, with their own set of problems to deal with. Typically, the more money you have, the more problems you will likely encounter. So, it stands to reason that the biggest lottery winners probably have their work cut out for them, right?
Well, yes and no. Some have dealt with the pressures of becoming overnight millionaires better than others, while some went completely off the radar! Read on to see what the biggest lottery winners have been up to.
Couple John and Lisa Robinson won a third of the historical $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot on January 13, 2016. Like the other two winners, the pair chose to take their winnings as a lump sum, getting $327.8 million before taxes. After their win, the Robinson couple expressed their desire to keep their modest Munford home and continue living a normal life. John was reported as saying, “These big fancy houses are nice, but you gotta clean ‘em.” Lisa, on the other hand, said that she wanted to continue working.
Today, 2 years after their big win, the Robinsons now live in a $6.2 million 10-bedroom home that sits on a 320-acre lot, complete with a private lake. Their lavish home also includes some of the best views of Tennessee, eight bathrooms, and even a well-equipped home theater. So much for staying in a modest home!
Lisa did continue working after their big win but wasn’t treated nicely, according to the couple’s neighbor Fred Williams. Their other neighbors say that the Robinsons mostly keep to themselves and ask for privacy. Who could blame them? They’re probably tired of all the strangers and “long lost relatives” asking for a handout already!
Unlike the Robinsons, 70-year-old Maureen Smith and her husband, 56-year-old David Kaltschmidt was able to stick to a modest lifestyle. Save from purchasing a $90,000 Tesla and a new SUV, the couple didn’t change their lifestyle much. They still live in their $300,000 home in Florida, they frequent the same shops and restaurants, and they still go about their daily routine as if nothing big had happened in their lives. And despite winning a lump sum of $327.8 million (before taxes), the couple still plays the Powerball!
Marvin and Mae Acosta, the last of the three winners of the $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot, haven’t been in the public eye much since their big win. It shouldn’t be a surprise since the pair managed to lie low for over 6 months before claiming their prize. That and the Acosta’s didn’t want any publicity at all. And that hasn’t changed after 2 years!
Today, the Acosta’s have largely kept a low profile compared to other lottery winners. And it seems that they made the right call. After announcing that they will use their money for charity, numerous scammers posing as the couple have popped up, asking for “donations to good causes.” There is even a shameless website called AcostaFoundation that stole 99% of its content from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website!
Merle and Patricia Butler, 1/3 of the winners of the $656M Mega Millions jackpot, haven’t really been in the public eye since their big win back in 2012. Funny enough, they were the only ones who came out publicly (the other two winners were a group who identified only as “The Three Amigos” and another anonymous individual). They did mention, however, that they planned on using their money wisely by spending on the advice of their financial planners and attorneys.
If their near-absence from the spotlight is any indication, they seem to be following through on their promise to be smart about their big win! After all, if you’re a lottery winner and you find yourself in the news quite often—like other lottery winner Jane Park—then you’re probably doing something wrong.
Scammers did use their names to lure unsuspecting people at one point though, which prompted Merle to go on record to clear the Butler name once and for all. But after that, no news stories about the Butlers—whether good or bad—were reported again so far.
Grandmother and former Georgia resident Ira Curry was one of the two winners who split the $648 million Mega Millions jackpot back in December 2013. She opted to go with the cash option and took home around $120 million after taxes. What she ended up doing with the money and where she is now is anyone’s guess though. You see, shortly after her big win, Ira stunned lottery officials and neighbors when she and her husband—along with her family in her native New York—suddenly went into hiding. The reclusive Currys have not been heard from by the greater public since.
Northern California resident and former truck driver Steve Tran was the second winner of the $648 million Mega Millions jackpot. What he did or where he ultimately ended up is currently unknown as he has kept out of the public eye since his big win. We do know what he didn’t do though—work! After his win, Tran called up his boss and said, “I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow or ever.” And if all went according to Tran’s plan, we wouldn’t be surprised if he were relaxing in some tropical island, enjoying life!
Zephyrhills, Florida resident Gloria Mackenzie became the largest Powerball winner when she won the $590.5 million jackpot in May, 2013. With no winner to split the prize with, MacKenzie was able to take home a sizeable $278 million after taxes.
Since her big win, MacKenzie bought a seaside mansion worth $1.2M, in Jackonville, Florida—which is a serious upgrade to her old, run-down $30,000 rental apartment. She also donated a cool $2M to a high school in Maine so the school could fix its roof. The generous grandmother also pledged to share a portion of her winnings with her son Scott.
How the biggest Powerball winner is doing now is currently unknown as the family has requested for privacy.
Cindy and Mark Hill, the couple who won half of the $587.5 Million Powerball Jackpot continued living modestly even after their big win in November 2012. Mark, for instance, still frequents a local convenience store to hangout with his friends for morning coffee. He also opted to go for a pickup truck instead of the Camaro sports car he had been eyeing.
People who know them confirm that the Hills are very conservative and grounded. But their most defining trait, as the town of Camden Point, Missouri has witnessed many times, is their generosity. Even before they became millionaires, the Hills helped the community by donating to local civic projects. And now that they are rich, their generosity seems to have multiplied by tenfold.
The couple paid for a new fire station, a new ball field, and gave Camden Point more than $50,000 so the town could buy land where a new sewage treatment plan could be built. The Hills also donated a significant amount to North Platte High School’s scholarship fund, which should help a lot of families in Dearborn.
Today, it isn’t clear what the Hills have been up to. But, given what we know about their philanthropic ways, we’re betting they’ve continued to use the $136.5 million prize they got to good use!
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