Powerball Winner Story: Ex-Con to Ex-Millionaire

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  • Author:
    Shaun Greer
  • Published:

Not all Powerball winner stories have happy endings, including this one about a man who went from ex-con to ex-millionaire.

There are plenty of rags-to-riches Powerball winner stories out there. Single moms who once juggled multiple jobs win big. Down-and-out individuals find a lifetime of financial freedom with one life-changing Powerball ticket, too. But the Powerball winning stories don’t always end happily. And in this tale, an Ashland, Kentucky man went from being a convicted felon to a multi-millionaire. But he lost it all and then some within five short years.

An Ex-Con Becomes a Multi-Millionaire

It was 2001 and is still recorded as one of the largest Powerball prizes, with $280 million up for grabs. And David Lee Edwards was one of four lucky winners, walking away with roughly $27 million. Mr. Edwards found himself in the lap of luxury, which was a stark contrast to where he’d been before.

Edwards was a convicted felon from Ashland, Kentucky. He had been unemployed and living with his parents at age 46 on that fateful Powerball playing day. And with his big win and newly super-swollen bank account, he set out to change his life.

Wasting No Time to Change His Life

One of the first things Edwards did was marry his then-girlfriend, Shawna Maddux. The couple jet-set away to Malibu, California, for their wedding. And from there, the spending and splurging on luxury scaled to new heights. The couple enjoyed luxury homes in both Florida and California. They lived in a 6,000-square-foot mansion in a gated community, too.

Within no time, the newlyweds owned more than a dozen exotic and expensive cars, including a $90,000 Dodge Viper and a $200,000 Lamborghini Diablo. Edwards also purchased his own private jet, said to set him back $1.9 million. Within the first three months of winning the Powerball jackpot, Edwards had already spent more than $3 million of his $27 million.

Edward Bought Two Businesses

In addition to spending his fortune on lavish extras, like 200 collectible swords, Edwards did invest in some business ventures. It was reported that he spent $4.5 million on a fiber optics company. He also allegedly bought a limousine business. While he had hoped investing in enterprises would sustain his wealth, his frivolous spending would siphon any potential profits and dividends. By the end of the first year as a millionaire, Edwards had already spent $12 million.

A Turn for the Worse

Unfortunately, the high-end lifestyle and overspending took a toll. Reports suggest that Edwards and his wife fell into despair with drug addiction. The two spiraled out of control, and within five years, the Edwards’ were broke. Come 2006, just a short five years after winning, the couple was penniless and living in a storage unit.

Shawna soon divorced David Lee Edwards and remarried. But she and her new husband did take David in when he began to experience health problems. By 2013, after years of drug addiction, Mr. Edwards ended up in hospice and subsequently died at the age of 58.

A Cautionary Powerball Playing Tale

David Lee Edwards was down and out as an ex-con, living with his parents, when he won $27 million from a winning Powerball ticket. And within five years of spending, splurging, and drugs, Edwards had lost it all. His five-year run of riches story serves as a cautionary tale for any future Powerball winners. The jackpot prize may be massive, but it’s not endless. And without guidance and diligent money management, even small fortunes can dry up quickly.

Don’t do what Edwards did, and instead, should you find yourself holding the winning lineup on the next Powerball drawing, seek assistance. Invest wisely, save, and develop a plan that allows you to stretch every Powerball jackpot dollar.

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