Winnings: £9.7 million (about $15.5 million)
Time until bust: 8 years
Dubbed the “Lotto Lout” in his native England, Michael Carroll did exactly what those who come into sudden cash are advised not to do: he blew it all on drugs and hookers. According to the Daily Mail, the 19-year-old collected his £9.7 million (more than $15.5 million) in 2002 while wearing an “electronic offender’s tag,” distributed some to family and friends, and then unapologetically frittered away the rest on drugs, gambling and thousands of prostitutes. The British tabloid reported that by 2003, Carroll was allegedly smoking more than $3,000 worth of crack cocaine daily and regularly throwing indulgent parties at his $500,000 home.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Carroll’s behavior drove away his wife and young daughter. Just eight years later Carroll had already spent all his winnings. He went back to living off his £42 ($67) per week unemployment benefits but claimed the return to a more humble lifestyle suited him just fine.
“The party has ended and it’s back to reality,” Carroll told the Daily Mail in 2010. “I haven’t got two pennies to rub together and that’s the way I like it. I find it easier to live off £42 dole than a million.”
The next year, however, Carroll admitted to having attempted suicide twice after he’d frittered his millions away.
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