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Tragic tale of $16M lottery winner who was $1M in debt within a year


Winning the lottery and being catapulted to multimillionaire status overnight can set you up for the future.

But for William ‘Bud’ Post III, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare, setting off a catastrophic chain of events that ended with him going bankrupt and dying alone in poverty.

The Pennsylvania native quickly blew through his $16.2 million fortune and landed $1 million in debt within the first year.

He splashed out on luxury cars, motorcycles, planes he couldn’t even fly, mansions and family businesses into which he pumped endless sums of money.

But he also had to deal with his ex-girlfriend and landlady – who successfully sued him for a third of his fortune – and his brother who hired a hit man to kill him.

Bud Post blew through his $16.2 million fortune at high speed, leaving a trail of devastation

Post, who raised the eye-watering sum in 1988, died in 2006 at the age of 66 in misery of respiratory disease.

The hapless spender bought his winning ticket when he had just $2.46 in his bank account and was on disability benefits.

He sold a ring for $40 and gave his then-girlfriend and landlady the money for 40 state lottery tickets.

After his monumental victory and the collection of the first annual payment of $497,953, Post spent $300,000 in just two weeks.

He put money into family businesses, including a Florida restaurant for his brother and sister, and a used car parking lot and associated fleet for another brother.

He also made outlandish purchases, such as a twin-engine airplane, despite not having a pilot’s license, and within three months was $500,000 in debt.

The following year, estranged from his siblings at the time and ordered to stay away from his sixth wife after shooting at her car, Post purchased a mansion in Northwestern Pennsylvania’s Oil City for $395,000.

Things soon took a turn for the worse when his former landlady and sometime girlfriend successfully sued him for a third of his winnings, claiming they had agreed at the time to split the proceeds.

Bud Post in front of his Oil City mansion that fell into disrepair as debt mounted

Bud Post in front of his Oil City mansion that fell into disrepair as debt mounted

Post rejected her claim, and when he refused to hand over his annual payment in 1992, a judge ordered that all further payments be frozen until the dispute was resolved.

With a mortgage and a lack of money, he sold many of his possessions and left his mansion in a pitiful state of disrepair.

Visitors saw how the pool was full of debris, the yard was full of weeds, and the windows were boarded up with plywood.

It was reported that Post wandered around the mansion alone, without his dentures, which he complained of hurting his head.

Meanwhile, his brother was accused of hiring a hit man to kill him in hopes of inheriting some of the money.

He eventually sold the crumbling mansion for $65,000 in 1996 and auctioned off the 17 remaining lottery payments he owed in an effort to get out of debt.

“When I’m not a lottery winner anymore, people will leave me alone. That’s all I want. Just peace of mind,” he told The Guardian at the time.

The remaining $2.65 million he received he blew on his debts, two more houses, a truck, three cars, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, two 62-inch Sony televisions, a luxury motorhome, computers and a sailboat of $260,000.

He was finally arrested on his luxury yacht in 1998 after refusing to turn himself in to police to serve a prison sentence of six to 24 months for an assault conviction.

He had been found guilty of firing a shogun at a man who was collecting a debt at his mansion.

After being released from prison, he lived on disability benefits of $450 a month until his death in 2006.

“Everyone dreams of winning money, but nobody realizes the nightmares that come out of the woodwork, or the trouble,” he told a reporter in 1993.

“I was much happier when I was broke.”

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