As lottery fever grips the nation, millions of ticket-buyers nurse fantasies of how hitting the big jackpot would change their lives. Whoever holds the $1.6 billion Mega Millions winning ticket would seem to have it made.
But for a number of lottery winners in the past, the reality didn't live up to that dream. Some ended up swindled, imprisoned -- or worse.
A Georgia man was sentenced to serve 21 years in April 2017 after he invested part of his $3 million lottery winnings in a crystal meth ring, reports CBS affiliate WJAX. Ronnie Music Jr., 45, purchased large quantities of the drug meth with lottery winnings he won from a scratch-off ticket. He pleaded guilty.
Credit: CBS affiliate WJAX
Arthur Neal, Jr.
86-year-old grandfather Arthur Neal, Jr. was found murdered in the basement of a Detroit home in February 2015. Family told media outlets that he had won $20,000 in the lottery shortly before his disappearance, but officials couldn't confirm the win and said a $20,000 ticket had never been cashed. Prosecutors say 20-year-old Quanzell Hood killed Neal in an attempt to steal the cash -- Hood pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 23-50 years in prison in May of 2015.
Credit: CBS Detroit
Urooj Khan of Illinois died July 20, 2012, one day after collecting the lump sum option on a $1 million win. A medical examiner initially found that the 46-year-old Khan died of natural causes, but another official asked for a deeper investigation, which revealed the lottery winner was fatally poisoned with cyanide.
Credit: AP Photo/Illinois Lottery
Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore
Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore was convicted in December 2012 of first-degree murder in the slaying of Florida lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare in central Florida. She was sentenced to mandatory life without parole by a judge who called her "cold, calculating and cruel."
Credit: AP Photo/The Lakeland Ledger, Ernst Peters
Florida Lottery winner and murder victim Abraham Shakespeare in an undated photo.
Credit: The Ledger/Pierre DuCharme
Defendant Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore arrives in a Florida court on Nov. 28, 2012, for opening statements in her trial for the murder of lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare.
Credit: AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool
Florida Lottery-winner and murder victim Abraham Shakespeare (third from left), a 43-year-old truck driver who was killed by Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore.
Credit: Florida Lottery
Amanda Clayton, a Michigan lottery winner, was arrested in April 2012 for allegedly collecting food stamps and public health insurance despite winning a $735,000 jackpot. Clayton, who was 25 at the time, was charged with fraud and was sentenced to nine months probation. In October 2012 Clayton was found dead from what appeared to be a drug overdose.
Credit: AP Photo/Courtesy Michigan Lottery via Detroit News
Doris Murray (left), who won $5 million in the Georgia Lottery in April 2007, was found stabbed to death in her home a year later.
Doris Siegel of Brooksville, Florida, was accused in March 2010 of conning friends, neighbors and a church pastor out of more than $1 million after she claimed to have won the lottery in Holland. Siegel, who was 78 at the time, asked victims to put up their own money in return for a piece of the winnings. In October 2010, she was sentenced to 18 months in prison and five years of probation as a part of a plea deal.
Credit: Hernando County Jail
Freddie Young, a Michigan man who became a millionaire after a lottery win in February 2011, had his fortune frozen by a judge after becoming a murder suspect four months later. Young was charged in June 2011 with first-degree premeditated murder in the May 2011 shooting death of his daughter's landlord. He was convicted and sentenced in 2012 to 25-30 years in prison.
Credit: CBS Detroit
In 2012, a group of 14 McDonald's employees sued their co-worker, Mirland Wilson, a woman who claimed to have Maryland's winning Mega Millions ticket in March and later said she lost it. The group claimed Wilson defrauded the Maryland Lottery to avoid sharing the winnings with them, despite lottery officials saying she never won in the first place.
In March 2012, a New Jersey jury unanimously decided that Americo Lopes had cheated his coworkers out of their share of a $38.5 Mega Millions jackpot lottery pool. Lopes claimed he had won the jackpot on a personal ticket but the panel rejected that theory. The jackpot was ultimately distributed among the five men who were in the lottery pool with Lopes.
20-year-old Craigory Burch, Jr. won more than $400,000 in November 2015 in the Fantasy 5 Jackpot. Two months later, in January of 2016, he was murdered in a home invasion. Police called it a "targeted" killing. In March of 2016, 7 were charged in the death. Police say three suspects broke into his home, demanded money and then fatally shot Burch.