A lottery winner who “lost motivation” for life after scooping a $22 million (US$14 million) trashed his house and kept a large bowl of drugs in the fridge, according to court documents.
Former plumber Joshua Winslet, from Adelaide, Australia, was just 22 when he won the South Australia Powerball draw in 2017.
In 2020, he was arrested on drugs and weapons charges when police seized 28.3 grams of MDMA, 2.27g of cocaine, some marijuana, and a Mauser handgun and ammunition from his home.
In August, Winslet was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison after pleading guilty to supplying MDMA and possession of an unlicensed firearm.
The court heard that despite Winslet’s parents managing his lottery money through a trust fund, he had got his hands on enough to fund a dangerously hedonistic lifestyle. Meanwhile, the windfall had turned his home into a “party house” that became a magnet for freeloaders and drug users.
Bongs, Bulbs, and Bottles
Images from the house taken shortly after his arrest show bongs, nitrous oxide bulbs, empty bottles and beer cans strewn across the floor. Another room is littered with dirty clothes and garbage. In the fridge is a large soup bowl filled with white powder.
Because of the money that you had won, there was no motivation on your part to work or do anything other than enjoy yourself,” Judge Heath Barklay told the defendant.
“You had lots of money so you could afford to buy large amounts of drugs, which you would use yourself and supply to your so-called friends from time to time,” he added.
Among the detritus and the drug paraphernalia, one image shows a framed certificate from the South Australia Lottery Commission congratulating Winslet on his win.
The Australian’s story is an example of the so-called “lottery curse.” The curse shows how sudden, unearned wealth can impact people in negative ways, depriving them of their purpose in life and making them targets for leaches and hangers on — or worse.
The list of the accursed is a long one. It includes Abraham Lee Shakespeare, an illiterate laborer from Georgia, won $30 million on the Florida Lotto in 2006. He gave most of his fortune away to friends and family before he was robbed and murdered for his last $1 million by a gold digger who pretended she wanted to write a book about him.
Then there was Patty Bigbee, who claimed a $1 million jackpot on the Missouri Powerball in 2010. After quickly blowing through all the cash, and unable to bear returning to a life of poverty, Bigbee tried to sell her infant grandson on Facebook for $75,000.
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