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From mansions to living surrounded by drugs and own poo – lottery winner who lost it all

From mansions to living surrounded by drugs and own poo - lottery winner who lost it all


Aged 46, David Lee Edwards, a convicted armed robber, had spent more than a third of his life in prison.

Broke and unemployed, he borrowed some money from a friend to pay a water bill and spent the change on a pizza and two lottery tickets.

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Just like we all dream of, his numbers came up, and he scooped $27million.

At a press conference, standing next to his 27-year-old girlfriend Shawna, he admitted to having made mistakes in life but promised to use his money responsibly.

He told reporters: “You know, a lot of people, they’re out of work. They don’t hardly have anything, and so I don’t want to accept this money by saying I’m going to get mansions and I’m going to get cars.

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“I would like to accept it with humility. I want this money to last, for me, for my future wife, for my daughter, and future generations.”

He lied and will go down in history as the perfect example to lottery winners of what not to do.

To celebrate his win he arranged an immediate £200,000 loan to party in Las Vegas. Within five days he was calling his new lawyer to wire over more cash.




And when the big cheque came through, he began spending money like it was going out of fashion.

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He bought a $1.6m, 6,000-square-foot mansion in a private gated community in Palm Beach, Florida, complete with tennis courts and a golf course. For some extra room, he also snapped up another $600,000 house nearby.

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Next came a $1.9m Lear Jet, three losing racehorses, a $200,000 Lamborghini Diablo, and a $90,000 Dodge Viper. At one point he had so many expensive cars in his driveway (more than $1m worth), his neighbours complained it looked like a car lot.

Having paid his ex-wife $500,000 to get custody of his daughter Tiffani, 11, he bought her a $35,000 Hummer golf cart, despite the fact she was not old enough to drive it.

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In his first three months as a millionaire, he spent $3million. One year after his win, he had spent $12million.

His press conference promises forgotten, he invited an NBC News TV crew into his home and bragged he was wearing a $78,000 diamond-encrusted gold watch, a $159,000 ring and proudly showed off his $30,000 plasma screen TV.



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He also spent a lot of money on drugs. Reports say Edwards and Shawna blew a fortune on crack cocaine, prescription pills, and heroin. Between expensive and unsuccessful spells in rehab and countless run-ins with police, both contracted hepatitis from using dirty needles.

It was reported he was also generous in handing out drugs to friends, and when some died of overdoses, would also pay for their funerals. By 2006, within five short years, he had lost the lot.

He and Shawna were totally broke and moved into a squalid storage unit where they lived surrounded by their own poo, rotten food, crack pipes and syringes.

Shawna then left him and remarried and continued to be dogged by drug addiction, while daughter Tiffani, who had been enrolled in an expensive private academy, ended up working as a clerk at an amusement park in West Virginia.

Left penniless, and owing friends thousands of dollars, Edwards’ first ex-wife and her husband drove him from Florida back home to Kentucky where he died in a hospice, aged just 58.

His former financial adviser, who had initially invested $16million of the cash to stop him spending it, told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times in 2007: “If he followed my investment advice, he’d be pulling in about $85,000 a month for the rest of his life, instead he sold the lot.”

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As a cautionary tale for all, the American National Endowment for Financial Education says 70 percent of lottery winners who get a big win go broke within the first few years of receiving the ticket.

Just remember, if you win, be sensible.. it could be you!





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