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Lottery winner hangs self 7 years after collecting win

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Lottery winner hangs self 7 years after collecting win

Seven years ago, Gerald Muswagon was all smiles as his troubled life took a fairy-tale turn when he won a $10 million lottery jackpot.

On Sunday, Mr. Muswagon hanged himself in his parent's garage.

It was a shocking end for a man who appeared to have the world at his fingertips, yet clearly never could grasp the instant fame and fortune he was handed through his lucky $2 Super 7 ticket.

"People are very upset, and this is all very surprising," said his cousin, Mike Muswagon. "But he had been very depressed lately, although he kept that part of him well hidden."

Mr. Muswagon, 42, somehow managed to do what seemed unthinkable and spent nearly every penny of his winnings in only a few years.

The former resident of Norway House in northern Manitoba was forced to take a job this summer doing heavy lifting on a friend's farm just to make ends meet while supporting his girlfriend and six young children in their modest Winnipeg home.

"I really wanted him to be set up for life, so he never had to work another day," said his cousin. "He should have been able to do that. But he made some very bad decisions."

Mr. Muswagon's spending habits were the stuff of local legend, as rumours began to spread throughout Winnipeg shortly after he won.

Most of them were true. He bought several new vehicles for himself and friends, purchased a house that turned into a nightly "party pad" and often celebrated his new lifestyle with copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. In a single day, he bought eight big-screen televisions for friends.

"He didn't have the right people around him at the time, people who could have guided him," recalled his cousin. "A lot of people asked a lot of him."

Mr. Muswagon tried starting up his own business only to watch it flop. The company, called Gerald's Logging, was cutting lumber in the Norway House area but was bleeding money because of low sales.

There were other bad decisions, including the October 2000 night in which he led police on a lengthy chase while driving his brand new Chevy Silverado at speeds reaching 180 km/h. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was sentenced to three months in jail.

He continued his criminal ways in November of 2002 when he repeatedly fondled a 19-year-old woman he had asked to help tidy his house while he mourned the sudden death of his wife, Virginia, only weeks earlier.

This past summer, he pleaded guilty to sexual assault and was given three months in jail, which he was allowed to serve intermittently on weekends so he could continue working during the week.

Mr. Muswagon's criminal record dated back to 1981 and included seven other convictions for crimes including assault causing bodily harm, drunk driving, theft and break and enter.

"Unfortunately, he had a very difficult time adjusting, coming from Norway House with very little education," said Tim Valgardson, Mr. Muswagon's lawyer.

Canadian Press

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34 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by Chewie.
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Avatar
Atlanta
United States
Member #15989
May 24, 2005
183 Posts
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Posted: October 5, 2005, 9:48 am - IP Logged

Wow it really is amazing how many tragedies surround lottery winners. With those spending habits 10M was not going to go very far.

    Avatar
    New Mexico
    United States
    Member #12305
    March 10, 2005
    2984 Posts
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    Posted: October 5, 2005, 9:57 am - IP Logged

    He continued his criminal ways in November of 2002 when he repeatedly fondled a 19-year-old woman he had asked to help tidy his house while he mourned the sudden death of his wife, Virginia, only weeks earlier.

    This past summer, he pleaded guilty to sexual assault and was given three months in jail, which he was allowed to serve intermittently on weekends so he could continue working during the week.

    Mr. Muswagon's criminal record dated back to 1981 and included seven other convictions for crimes including assault causing bodily harm, drunk driving, theft and break and enter.

    The problems the guy had didn't involve money.  At least not as a major item in the mix.  He had the problems before he had the money, and money didn't solve them. 

    Doesn't appear the self-homicide had much to do with having won the lottery, or being a poor money manager.  Worthy lesson to be learned here, but the lesson doesn't have much to do with winning lotteries, nor what a person does with the money, afterward.  If a loser's defined as a person who doesn't approach the segments within himself leading to self-destruction, and change them, this guy was a loser, long after he won the lottery.

    Too bad.  Next lifetime he'll have to take another shot at it.

    Jack

     

    Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

    It's about number behavior.

    Egos don't count.

     

    Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

     

      Raven62's avatar - binary
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #17843
      June 28, 2005
      49831 Posts
      Online
      Posted: October 5, 2005, 10:28 am - IP Logged

      He would have been better off with an Annuity instead of a Lump Sum.

       

        Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
        Chief Bottle Washer
        New Jersey
        United States
        Member #1
        May 31, 2000
        23275 Posts
        Online
        Posted: October 5, 2005, 10:32 am - IP Logged

        He would have been better off with an Annuity instead of a Lump Sum.

         

        I Agree!  That's why I always say that people should not blindly say "always choose cash".  It is highly dependent upon the individual, and their capability to handle money.

        Even if someone says that everyone should always choose cash, and then always invest the money, the fact is that most lottery winners are not accustomed to anything except living from paycheck-to-paycheck, so they really don't understand the concept of investing.  The Annuity option is a good way for some people to be forced to conserve their financial resources.

         

        Check the State Lottery Report Card
        What grade did your lottery earn?

         

        Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
        Help eliminate computerized drawings!

          Avatar
          beltsville, md
          United States
          Member #2846
          November 21, 2003
          15 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: October 5, 2005, 10:52 am - IP Logged

          he was only 35 when he won a jackpot of 10 million bucks.
          he didn't take an annual payment of $50,000 a year per million for
          25 years, to get a total of a quarter of a million dollars a year for 25 years
          before taxes. so he must have taken a lump sum which had a present
          day cash value of 5 million bucks before taxes, which net him little over
          2.5 million bucks. it looks like he was a lucky fool from day one...

          hitchaser,

            Raven62's avatar - binary
            New Jersey
            United States
            Member #17843
            June 28, 2005
            49831 Posts
            Online
            Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:18 am - IP Logged

            he was only 35 when he won a jackpot of 10 million bucks.
            he didn't take an annual payment of $50,000 a year per million for
            25 years, to get a total of a quarter of a million dollars a year for 25 years
            before taxes. so he must have taken a lump sum which had a present
            day cash value of 5 million bucks before taxes, which net him little over
            2.5 million bucks. it looks like he was a lucky fool from day one...

            hitchaser,

            $50,000/yr/mil times 10 mil equals $500,000/yr

             

              Avatar
              New Mexico
              United States
              Member #12305
              March 10, 2005
              2984 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:22 am - IP Logged

              Item 1: He ran out of money

              Item 2:  He self destructed.

              Item 3:  He probably wouldn't have run out of money if he'd taken the annuity.

              Item 4:  He'd have had more money to take to the grave, maybe hanged himself on a silk rope.

              There's no reason at all to believe the two issues are related.  Anyone who chooses to self-destruct has deeper problems than money can solve.  The story contains plenty of hints about what those problems might have been.

              So the lottery related story here is that he ran out of money because of lousy management.  A familiar story, but not a particularly interesting one, even as an excuse to continue the annuity/lump debate.

              Jack

               

               

              Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

              It's about number behavior.

              Egos don't count.

               

              Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

               

                Jake649's avatar - scene sunovermountains.jpg

                Canada
                Member #2673
                November 2, 2003
                497 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:22 am - IP Logged

                he was only 35 when he won a jackpot of 10 million bucks.
                he didn't take an annual payment of $50,000 a year per million for
                25 years, to get a total of a quarter of a million dollars a year for 25 years
                before taxes. so he must have taken a lump sum which had a present
                day cash value of 5 million bucks before taxes, which net him little over
                2.5 million bucks. it looks like he was a lucky fool from day one...

                hitchaser,

                The $10 million he won was the cash value and it was free of any taxes. The jackpot was won in Canada where the jackpots are as exactly as advertised.

                Good luck,
                Jake

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
                  United States
                  Member #1
                  May 31, 2000
                  23275 Posts
                  Online
                  Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:27 am - IP Logged

                  Item 1: He ran out of money

                  Item 2:  He self destructed.

                  Item 3:  He probably wouldn't have run out of money if he'd taken the annuity.

                  Item 4:  He'd have had more money to take to the grave, maybe hanged himself on a silk rope.

                  There's no reason at all to believe the two issues are related.  Anyone who chooses to self-destruct has deeper problems than money can solve.  The story contains plenty of hints about what those problems might have been.

                  So the lottery related story here is that he ran out of money because of lousy management.  A familiar story, but not a particularly interesting one, even as an excuse to continue the annuity/lump debate.

                  Jack

                   

                   

                  I would disagree with your point that this doesn't have anything to do with the cash/annuity debate.  In fact, I think this is the perfect illustrative example of why both options should be there.  I see the cash option and his demise as tightly linked in this case.

                   

                   

                  Check the State Lottery Report Card
                  What grade did your lottery earn?

                   

                  Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                  Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                    Chief Bottle Washer
                    New Jersey
                    United States
                    Member #1
                    May 31, 2000
                    23275 Posts
                    Online
                    Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:27 am - IP Logged

                    Jake may have ended the debate, with a very good point: was an annuity even available?

                     

                    Check the State Lottery Report Card
                    What grade did your lottery earn?

                     

                    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                      Jake649's avatar - scene sunovermountains.jpg

                      Canada
                      Member #2673
                      November 2, 2003
                      497 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:38 am - IP Logged

                      Annunity was not available from the Lottery Corporation for this particular game. If the winner wants an annuity, they would have to purchase it from a financial institution.

                      Some Canadian lotteries now have annuity options. For example, the scratch game in Ontario called Cash for Life. There is also the unique Payday lottery that pays a $1,000 per week (tax free) for the rest of the winner's life. It has no fixed payout period. So if an 18 year old wins it and lives a long life, they can receive a lot of money.

                      Good luck,
                      Jake

                        fja's avatar - gnome1

                        United States
                        Member #91
                        January 19, 2002
                        11936 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:39 am - IP Logged

                        copious amounts of drugs and alcohol,  8 big screen TV's, numerous cars, a house, his own business, cash only friends, and the thought that he was above the law. 

                        almost sounds like he sold his soul for 7 years of kicks and giggles.....

                         

                        The devil went up to Manitoba,

                        he was looking for a soul to steal

                        he was in a bind

                        because he was way behind,

                        and he was willing to make a deal.

                        "Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another beer!"   = W.C.Fields                      

                          Raven62's avatar - binary
                          New Jersey
                          United States
                          Member #17843
                          June 28, 2005
                          49831 Posts
                          Online
                          Posted: October 5, 2005, 11:39 am - IP Logged

                          Jake may have ended the debate, with a very good point: was an annuity even available?

                          Even if their is no Annuity Option available: Anyone can take their Lump Sum Disbursement and Purchase an Annuity.

                           

                            Avatar
                            New Mexico
                            United States
                            Member #12305
                            March 10, 2005
                            2984 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: October 5, 2005, 12:11 pm - IP Logged

                            copious amounts of drugs and alcohol,  8 big screen TV's, numerous cars, a house, his own business, cash only friends, and the thought that he was above the law. 

                            almost sounds like he sold his soul for 7 years of kicks and giggles.....

                             

                            The devil went up to Manitoba,

                            he was looking for a soul to steal

                            he was in a bind

                            because he was way behind,

                            and he was willing to make a deal.

                            I agree, more or less.

                            Jack

                            Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

                            It's about number behavior.

                            Egos don't count.

                             

                            Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser