The Good and the Bad That Can Come With Winning the Lottery
Getting a windfall of lottery money isn’t always as great as it sounds. For some, it is a blessing, and for others it can be a curse.
Many want to win the lottery because the perception is that with more money, life is better. But as these Inside Edition stories prove, getting a windfall of lottery money isn’t always as great as it sounds.
“That minute that he turned in that ticket to show that we were millionaires, the curse started that minute," Rhonda Toth said. She and her husband won $13 million in the Florida lottery in 1990 — and blew it all. Rhoda even ended up in prison for tax fraud.
For Eddie Tiptin, the promise of loads of money inspired bad behavior. In 2015, the 52-year-old former lottery official was sentenced to 10 years in prison for rigging a $14 million jackpot in Iowa. While working as the Director of Security, he hacked into lottery computers, manipulated the program, and made certain numbers jackpot winners.
But Eddie didn’t stop in Iowa. In a Colorado lottery drawing in 2005, his brother Tommy, a Justice of the Peace in Texas, snagged $569,000. And Robert Rhodes, a lifelong friend of Eddie, won a Megabucks drawing worth $783,000 in Wisconsin.
In 2017, Eddie Tipton confessed in court to rigging lotteries in Colorado, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Kansas and Iowa. Tipton was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
But not all winning is bad. In 2010, Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros won $266 million in California. They enjoy their riches, but they also help others with an educational foundation to assist Hispanic students.
Chef Roberto Mendoza from North Carolina also used his winnings to help others. After following his mom’s advice, he bought a $5 Lottery ticket in 2019. He scratched off $250,000 in winnings. “You never expect it!” Roberto said. “It’s stuff that happens!”
Roberto’s upbringing inspired him to use his money to help the hungry. “I grew up without a mom and dad, they left me, so I was all by myself. So I went to bed hungry every night,” he said. “I cried and cried, and said ‘God, when I grow up, I don’t want to suffer hunger again.'"
Roberto grew to become an executive chef, preparing meals for dignitaries like Condoleezza Rice and former President Barack Obama. Still, he and his army of volunteers provide for others. On Saturdays, you’ll find Roberto on a busy street corner in Charlotte. He uses his lottery winnings to provide free food for people in need, rain or shine.
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