Winning the lottery would be a dream come true for most of us. It would be a comforting feeling to be financially secure for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, falling into a large sum of money like that has its downfalls. People that you’ve trusted all your life suddenly turn into golddiggers. Money changes everyone, for better or worse. When Marie Holmes won $188 million dollars, she thought her life was finally on track. But Marie got to see first-hand what money can do to people.
We all know that the chances of winning a lottery jackpot are pretty slim. There are over 175,223,510 different combinations, which makes your chances around 1 in 175 million! Regardless of the odds, people still take the risk and of those people, a few of them reap the reward. Some people make a financial plan and others blow it all on expensive things and end up worse off than before. We’ve been told that the lottery is random, but is it really? One man doesn’t think so. He thinks he’s found the secret to winning it big.
Could there really be a way to increase your chances of winning the lottery? Richard Lustig says that he’s spent a lot of money playing quick picks with no plan of action. He began keeping a record of when things would work right. He also let go of old lottery habits that had no logical reasoning.“When the lottery came to Florida, I was like everybody else: ‘Wow, buy lottery tickets, win a lot of money, retire, buy a big fancy yacht, whatever, blah, blah, blah,’” explains Lustig. He figured knowledge was power, so he began to educate himself
“Like everybody else, I was running out and buying haphazardly, buying quick picks, I mean buying tickets with no plan, or no method, or whatever. Like everybody else, I was losing all the time.” So he created a new system which led to an increase in successful picks. His system seemed to be working! Lustig has won a total of seven jackpots and became the author of an appropriately entitled book “Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery.”
There are a few rules to follow. Don’t use birthdays, or dates in general, because your numbers are limited to 1-31 and you’ll most likely share the pot with 10-20 people. Lustig also suggests spreading your numbers across the board and playing the same numbers every time. Always know your odds and play consistently. Marie Holmes didn’t go by Lustig’s system but she gained her success through luck. Unfortunately, Marie would soon find out the downfall of being a millionaire.
Living in Shollette, North Carolina, Marie was a single mother to her children, which was a continuous struggle. The cost of rent, food, and clothes was too high. Marie was doing her best. She had a couple of jobs, but we all know how hard it is to make decent money without the privilege of a college degree. How was she going to afford a brighter future for her children? College tuition was creeping up, but who has the money for all that?
One day Marie thought about using a few dollars to buy a lottery ticket. Maybe her luck would be written in the stars. But the chances of winning enough money to even pay for the ticket were pretty low. When you’re living week-to-week the risk was too high to play. Marie attends church. She provides for her children. It’s just a few dollars. She never thought her life would change when she bought those five quick picks.
That night was like any other night, except for one thing. Marie would become an extremely wealthy woman. The quick picks she played won her the $188 million jackpot. Only a handful of people know how Marie felt that night. Marie had two choices. Take installments leading to the most cash over 30 years or receive less money in one lump sum. Lottery experts believe taking it in one lump sum is better so you can invest in your own plans. What would Marie choose?
Marie chose to get her money in one lump sum. She would just have to learn to get by with the $127 million she would be getting. Lottery experts also recommend remaining humble while attempting to keep anonymous, which is almost impossible these days. Knowing the power of money, Marie swore she wouldn’t let it change her. Her uncle had said that she was “very grounded and she will know what to do with all that money,” but that’s not how it went.
Some of the money was put aside for college for Marie’s children. Marie had also wanted to donate a large sum to her local church. The pastor, Kevin Matthews, wasn’t just a pastor, he was her friend. He had been there for her through some pretty rough times, so she wanted to give back. Marie offered 10% of her lottery winnings to the church, or $1.2 million. She ended up deciding on an even $1 million, the biggest donation ever to any church. You would think that would be enough!
Pastor Kevin Matthews, of the Pleasant Hill Missionary, should have been ecstatic about the tithe of $1 million. Marie had already donated $700,000 when she was sued by the pastor for $10 million. What could possibly be his reasoning? He said he was promised more money than he got. In their agreement, Marie had promised 10% of her earnings. It turned out to be $10 million! Marie couldn’t believe that a trusted friend, who happens to be a servant of the church, would do that to her. But could he even win?
Pastor Matthews had claimed that he already made legal binding contributions with the $10 million that Marie had promised him. He considered the deal he made with Marie to be a legally binding verbal contract. He’s also suing for “the emotional distress and mental stress they put me through, I had to start taking more medicine for anxiety and depression due to this situation… I didn’t see this coming and I think it was a third party that came along and told her not to do this.”
The pastor went on, “The bottom line… I just want her to do what she said she was going to do. I want peace and to do what God told me to do. I want her to do what she said she was going to do. I really feel like a warrior for Christ and people need to be accountable.” Due to the actions of this “Warrior for Christ” a lot of his churchgoers questioned his motives. He quickly went from a trusted pastor to a slimy snake.
Marie attempted to move on after the incredible drama that winning the jackpot caused her. She bought a brand new home and even appeared on an episode of “Iyanla: Fix My Life.” The host ended up telling Marie to sell her newly purchased home because it was a former slave plantation in the Civil War. She claimed the house stored a lot of negative energy. An interview on the show ends up leading to a bit more confusion to all of the lottery drama.
While interviewing on the television show, Marie and her mother explained that the numbers they picked actually weren’t random at all. They had said that Marie had given her mother the money for the ticket, but her mother was the one who picked the numbers. Even though in all of the photos of Marie holding the ticket, there are “QP’s” printed on the ticket, which mean the numbers are quick picks. If they weren’t random, that area would have been blank. Regardless, you won’t believe what she did with the money.
Marie ended up investing some of the money into her own foundation, a smart move on her part. But some of her other decisions weren’t so bright. Marie was still involved with the father of her youngest daughter, Lamar “Hot Sauce” McDow. He is a convicted drug trafficker who spent a lot of time in jail. Marie ended up bailing him out quite a bit. In fact, she spent $21 million bailing him out. She also got the felon a new car and a Rolex that cost $15,000. She even ended up facing her own drug charges. Did Marie’s life have a fairytale ending, or did the lottery just ruin her life altogether?