While some people may consider winning the lottery to be fortunate, others experience scams and losses as a result.

Friday’s $1.337 billion Mega Millions reward was won by an Illinois lottery ticket. The identities of winners are not required to be disclosed in Illinois. Scams have targeted lottery winners whose identities were made public. When Dave and Erica Harrig won a lottery prize of more than $61 million in 2013, they remained true to their ideals. It was the deciding factor.

After they both resigned their jobs, the pair from Gretna, Nebraska, a town outside of Omaha where Dave Harrig is currently a volunteer firefighter, allowed themselves to purchase a new house, some classic cars, and a few cruises.

But nine years later, they are still pretty much living the same lives they always did—staying active in their community, attending church, seeing their loved ones, and instilling in their kids the value of working hard to create a living despite any financial blessings that may come their way.

Many other winners weren’t as fortunate; they had personal hardships, lawsuits, or were duped. The most recent huge prize winner was announced on Friday, and Illinois is one of the states where lottery winners who win more than $250,000 can opt not to give their names.

An Air Force veteran with experience in aircraft maintenance, Dave Harrig, claims that by keeping things straightforward, he and his family were likely spared the difficulties and tragedies that have befallen other big winners.

The Harrig family mailbox quickly became flooded with letters detailing various forms of misfortune, including sick children, lost jobs, and burned-out homes.
Dave Harrig claimed that they all went unnoticed as they concentrated on their own families and organizations.
Their winnings’ principal wasn’t even touched until a few years ago, when they used it to help Gretna’s upcoming firefighters museum get off the ground.

“More than ever before, we have nicer items and a larger home. However, my wife and I are the same, and we balance each other out “Future lottery winners should choose a national investment adviser rather than a local one, Dave Harrig advised, and they should stay away from advisors that try to offer them financial items.

False tales that have been spread about them, namely that his wife once ran off with a doctor and that he had a lawyer girlfriend, have been disregarded by the couple. At school, their four children experienced bullying.

He stated of himself and his wife, “We’re still learning, but it has helped to remain working together as a team.”
He acknowledged the difficulties experienced by some previous jackpot winners, stating that the event “can really magnify your character and any addictions.”

After winning a record $315 million Powerball prize on Christmas Eve in 2002, the late Andrew Whittaker Jr. of West Virginia experienced legal troubles and personal losses.

It was the biggest US lottery jackpot ever won by a single ticket at the time. He was repeatedly cited as claiming that he wished he had torn up the ticket since he was constantly being bothered by people asking for money.

He battled addictions to alcohol and gambling before passing away at age 72 from natural causes in 2020. He also suffered from a number of personal traumas, including the loss of his granddaughter.

After claiming a $768 million lottery jackpot in April 2019, Manuel Franco of West Allis, Wisconsin, experienced a variety of headaches as a result of his lotto win.

Franco, who was only 24 at the time, celebrated his victory by holding a news conference, but afterwards reportedly went into hiding after being harassed by both strangers and the media.

In 2021, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau started alerting the public about messages from scammers claiming to be the multimillionaire winner.

The con artists used Franco’s name to send phishing emails, phone calls, texts, and social media messages to victims, informing them they had been picked to receive money.

The BBB claimed that con artists defrauded victims, including those in Alabama and Colorado, of more than $13,000.
Despite the difficulties the winners have faced, lottery administrators choose to publicly identify winners in order to increase public confidence in the games.

That’s largely due to certain previous drawings being manipulated. Eddie Tipton pleaded guilty , a former information security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, admitted in 2017 of programming software to anticipate winning numbers on specific dates throughout the year. In several jurisdictions, he and his brother fixed jackpots for a cumulative payout of about $24 million.

Jennifer Farrar, an AP researcher, contributed to this story.

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