August 10, 2022
Winning the lottery jackpot is a thrilling bonanza for some, sad for others.

Dave and Erica Harrig lived up to their values ​​when they won a lottery jackpot of over $61 million in 2013. It made all the difference.

Gretna, Nebraska, a community on the outskirts of Omaha, where Dave Harrig is now a volunteer firefighter, allowed the couple to buy themselves a new home, some old automobiles, and some cruises after they both left their jobs. .

But nine years later, they live as usual, living in their community, with church, family and friends, and teaching their children to work hard to make a living despite any financial constraints.

Many other winners have not been as fortunate, suffering personal setbacks and lawsuits or scandals. The latest winner of a big jackpot came on Friday, when One ticket sold in Illinois matches the number for the $1.337 billion Mega Million prize. Illinois is among the states where winners of more than $250,000 can choose not to reveal their names.

Dave Harrig, an Air Force veteran who worked in aircraft maintenance, says keeping things simple probably saved him and his family from the troubles and tragedies faced by other big winners.

Almost overnight, the Harrig family’s mailbox was filled with letters filled with tales of a difficult fate: sick children, jobs lost, houses burned down.

Dave Harrig said he ignored them all and focused on his family and charity.

He didn’t even touch the principal upon his victory until a few years ago, when he used it to fund a new museum of firefighters in Gretna, which would open soon.

“We have more cool things, a bigger house, and more than ever before. But we’re the same, and my wife and I have control over each other,” said Dave Harrig, author of Investing Wisely for Future Lottery Winners. Choose a national investment advisor instead of a local, and avoid advisors who try to sell financial products.

He has brushed off the false rumors that have been swirling about him, suggesting that his wife had once eloped with a doctor and had a lawyer girlfriend. Four of his children used to tease him in school.

“We are still learning, but it has helped to work together as a team,” he said of himself and his wife.

He acknowledged the struggles of some of the past winners, saying that the experience of winning the jackpot “can really enhance your character and any addiction.”

The late Andrew Whitaker Jr. of West Virginia faced lawsuits and personal setbacks after claiming a record $315 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas night in 2002.

At the time, it was the largest American lottery jackpot won with a single ticket. People harassed him so much with requests for money that he was quoted many times as saying that he wished he had torn the ticket.

Before dying of natural causes in 2020 at the age of 72, he struggled with alcohol and gambling problems and a series of personal tragedies, including the death of his granddaughter.

Winning the lottery brought other kinds of headaches for Manuel Franco of West Allis, Wisconsin, who claimed a $768 million lottery jackpot in April 2019.

Then just 24, Franco enthusiastically held a news conference to discuss his victory, but later reportedly went into hiding amid harassment by strangers and the news media.

Wisconsin’s Better Business Bureau began warning people in 2021 about messages from scammers who claimed to be multimillion-dollar winners.

Using Franco’s name, the scammers sent text messages, social media messages, phone calls and emails phishing for personal information, telling recipients they had been chosen to receive the money.

The BBB said the scammers received more than $13,000 from people they had tricked, including people from Alabama and Colorado.

Despite the problems faced by the winners, lottery officials favor publicly identifying the winners in order to instil public confidence in the games.

This is in large part because the last few pictures have been rigged. Former Multi-State Lottery Association Information Security Director Eddie Tipton Found guilty In 2017 to manipulate the software so that it can predict the winning numbers on certain days of the year. He and his brother rigged jackpots in several states for a combined payout of about $24 million.

AP researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed to this report.

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