Those of you lining up for your Powerball tickets might want to take a moment to reflect on Abraham Shakespeare, who won $30 million in the Florida Lotto. It should have been the start of a dream life. But like so many other lottery winners, it ended up in a nightmare. Abraham became the poster child for the "curse of the lottery." The poor, illiterate day laborer and sometime burglar became rich beyond his wildest dreams, but a mere three years later, he was shot dead and buried under a slab of concrete. The woman accused of murdering him is now on trial.
Almost immediately after Abraham won $30 million -- which he took in a $17 million lump sum payment -- trouble started. The friend who'd bought him the winning ticket when they stopped into a convenience store sued him for a share of the money and accused him of stealing the winning ticket. His friend lost.
Abraham bought a new house and car, but otherwise didn't splurge. It seems he was too busy fending off people who were trying to get a chunk of it. He told his brother: "I'd have been better off broke."
He then met a woman named Dee Dee Moore who pretended she was writing a book about him. Moore eventually took over his funds, claiming she could hide them from the people who were constantly bugging him for money. Predictably, she instead began withdrawing cash, buying herself three cars and a vacation.
She stands accused of killing Abraham by shooting him twice, and then burying him under a concrete slab on property owned by her ex-boyfriend. She's also accused of impersonating him for months -- sending text messages to friends and family, pretending to be him, and telling them that Abraham had fled to get away from hangers-on wanting his cash.
Eventually, the truth was found out -- Abraham was dead. Moore's story about what happened has reportedly changed over the years -- at one point she even tried to pin the blame on her 14-year-old son.
Abraham was eventually featured in the TV documentary Curse of the Lottery. So if you win the Powerball, you might want to hide out in another country, in the way Abraham never got a chance to do.
Do you think winning the lottery is a curse?
Image via DaGoaty/Flickr