Winning the Lottery
When most people are asked if they had one wish, what it would be, many say that it would be to win the lottery. If you had millions of dollars, you could pay off your debt; you could buy a big house, take a vacation, and never work again. Having all the money that you could ever dream of may sound nice, but it can also cause problems. Ask Marie Holmes. She knows first hand.
Marie Holmes is a single mother from North Carolina. Life for Marie wasn’t always easy, because there just wasn’t enough money to pay the bills and feed her children. Each day for Marie was a struggle, until the day that she played the North Carolina Powerball lottery. After choosing the right numbers, she won $188 million. At first, Marie thought that the universe was on her side for once. It didn’t take long for her to wish that she never won the lottery in the first place.
Nobody Deserved the Money More ‘Than Marie
Marie was just 26-years-old when she won the lottery. She worked at McDonald’s and Walmart just to put food on the table for her four children. When one of her children was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she had to leave both of her jobs. Caring for four children was hard enough, and caring for one with a debilitating disability made things even more difficult. The amount of pressure that she was under was unbearable. All she wanted to do was care for her children, but being unable to work made it impossible.
A Third Of the Jackpot
It was February 2015 when Marie bought her ticket. The jackpot was up to $564 million, so she bout a ticket at the local gas station. When she learned that she won, she said that she almost had a heart attack. Since two other people had also chosen the winning numbers, she was entitled to a third of the jackpot. Her share of the money was $188 million, and like all big lottery winners, she had to go through a long process to claim the money. She had to fill out the necessary paperwork, decide if she wanted to receive the money over thirty years or in one lump sum, and wait for the funds to be dispersed.
Marie had to decide if she was going to take $188 million over 30 years or take $127 million right away. After asking around, she was told that she could invest some of the money, which would make up for the difference. She also had to worry about Uncle Sam. Her winnings would be subject to federal and state taxes as if it were income. In the end, she could pay up to $50 million of her winnings in taxes.
Marie was living in a trailer home and planned to buy a traditional home. She also wanted to set up college funds for her children. She also wanted to donate some of the money to her church. When she spoke with NBC News about her winnings, she said that she was sure that the money wouldn’t change her, but it would help her. Unfortunately, when a person wins a lot of money, even if they deserve it, people tend to turn on them. Marie had great intentions with her money, but unfortunately, she made some financial decisions that took her down the wrong road.
Her first poor spending decision was when she bought her boyfriend, LaMar McDow, a $15,000 diamond laced Rolex. In 2014, LaMar was arrested and only had $100 in his bank account. It is said that Marie gave him $21 million for bail, but he denies this. He says that she paid just 10 percent of his bond to get him out. LaMar was living in Marie’s trailer with her and her children, and when he was released from jail, he moved into the $350,000 home that Marie bought with her winnings. It turned out that Marie only received $88 million out of the $188 million that she won. While this is a lot of money for someone who had nothing, the loss of $100 million made a huge difference. Shortly after winning the money, friends and family members were calling her asking for money. She had trouble saying no, and for her, $10,000 wasn’t a lot of money.
The New Home
The tax deductions were upsetting, the people asking for money was annoying, but the biggest disappointment was her new home. She thought that moving into a big, beautiful house in a nice neighborhood would be fantastic, but since she and her family were moving into a white neighborhood, people didn’t like it. Unfortunately, racial prejudice is still alive, and her neighbors were awful. One neighbor set up a camera to record everything that she and her family did. The neighbors didn’t want her family there.
Tithe to the Church
Unfortunately for Marie, lottery winners are not allowed to remain anonymous. Since her name was in the news, people knew that she won the money. She decided to take 10 percent of her winnings, known as a tithe, to her church. Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church was her church since she was a kid. She gave the church $700,000 to the church, which they used for repairs. A pastor named Kevin Matthews who was not affiliated with Marie’s church got involved with Marie and her family. The pastor claimed that God led him to them. Marie and LaMar believed he could guide them and help LaMar make better decisions. He asked Marie for half a million dollars to help him build a retreat. Nothing was put in writing, and Pastor Matthews built it with his own money. Soon after he announced that he would be suing Marie for $10 million. The resort cost $1.5 million, but he wanted more. Marie assumed that he wanted the rest of the money that she promised to her church. Since there were no contracts, the pastor didn’t have a case, but the whole thing caused Marie great stress and anxiety. She had to start taking medication for these issues. She won $188M lotto, but then her pastor did the least righteous thing.
Cheating Scandal and Help
The next problem came when a woman went public saying that she was having an affair with Marie’s boyfriend. She also claimed that he was paying other women Marie’s money for sexual favors. Finally, Marie found help. She appeared on Iyania: Fix My Life. During the taping, Marie found out that her boyfriend, whose gang name is Hot Sauce, needed more bail money. Iyania was able to give her advice and turn things around. After everything she had been through, Marie believes that money is the devil.