David Edwards spent $12 million in his first year as a millionaire
A Powerball winner has died broke and all alone in hospice care, just 12 years after raking in $27 million cash from a lottery jackpot.
David Lee Edwards, a convicted felon from Ashland, Kentucky, bought a mansion in a gated community, dozens of expensive cars and even a LearJet with the share of a record $280 million jackpot he won in August 2001.
But drug addiction and his free-spending ways left Edwards and his wife Shawna broke and living in a squalid storage unit contaminated with human feces within five years. Shawna left him not long after and remarried.
In the end, Edwards' first ex-wife and her husband drove him from Florida back home to Ashland. He died in hospice care Saturday at age 58.
Edwards' friends and family say his tragic story can serve as a parable about the corrupting influence of money. By the end of his life he had lost every last penny of his $27 million fortune and died owing thousands of dollars to friends.
Both Edwards and Shawna contracted hepatitis from their needle drug use and both were arrested multiple times and had numerous run-ins with police for possession of crack cocaine, prescription pills and heroin, Lottery Post reported in 2007. (See Lottery winner goes from rags to riches to rags, Lottery Post, Aug. 22, 2007.)
Shawna bounced into and out of drug rehab for addition to OxyContin and other drugs.
Shortly after winning, Edwards bought a $1.6 million, 6,000-square-foot house in a private tennis and golf community in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He spend $600,000 on another home nearby.
He paid $1.9 million for a LearJet, bought three losing racehorses and acquired a fiber optics installation company and a limo business for $4.5 million.
He paid his ex-wife $500,000 to hand over custody of his teenage daughter Tiffani. She couldn't drive at the time, but he bought her a $35,000 Hummer golf cart to drive around the community.
He collected cars - he treated himself to a $200,000 Lamborghini Diablo super car and a $90,000 Dodge Viper.
At one point, he had $1 million in vehicles parked in front of his house - so many that his neighbors complained that the upscale home in the upscale community started to look like a car dealership.
He invited in an NBC News TV crew and bragged that he was wearing a $78,000 diamond-encrusted gold watch and a $159,000 ring. He showed off his $30,000 plasma screen TV.
Edwards also amassed a collection 200 swords, armor and antiques — all of it cheap reproductions.
In his first three months as a millionaire, he spent $3 million. One year after his win, he had spent $12 million, the New Times estimates.
He lost every bit of it by 2006.
Edwards intended to do right. On the day that he publicly claimed his winnings, he promised to use his money responsibly.
"You know, a lot of people, they're out of work. Doesn't have hardly anything," he told reporters.
"And so I didn't want to accept this money by saying I'm going to get mansions and I'm going to get cars, I'm going to do this and that. I would like to accept it with humility.
"I want this money to last, for me, for my future wife, for my daughter and future generations."
Shortly after his win, he hired a financial adviser and a lawyer to look after his assets.
"If he followed my advice, he'd be pulling in about $85,000 a month for the rest of his life," financial planner James Gibbs said in 2007.
Instead, Gibbs says, Edwards sold off the stocks and bonds that Gibbs invested on his behalf.
On Tuesday, his daughter, Tiffani Lee Edwards, said that her father had left her with nothing — not even a life insurance policy.
"There is NO MONEY anywhere!!!!" she wrote on Facebook.
Tiffani, whom Edwards enrolled in a private college prep academy in South Florida during his short brush with wealth, now works as a clerk at an amusement park in West Virginia.
Before he won the lottery, Edwards was unemployed and living with his then-girlfriend Shawna, who is 19 years his junior.
He had spent a third of his life in prison after he was arrested for armed robbery.
He borrowed money from a friend to pay his water bill. After he got his water turned on, he used the rest to buy a pizza and $7 worth of lotto tickets from Clark's Pump-N-Shop.
He picked the winning numbers himself and shared the $280 million jackpot with three other winners. His $41 million lump sum portion came out to $27 million after taxes.
Thanks to w794728 for the tip.