Meet Patty Bigbee.
Via NY Daily News
Charmed, we're sure.
Bigbee was like any other Florida resident -- just looking to live her remaining years in the warm, alligator-infested climate of America's Dong. There were only two things setting her apart from her peers: winning the lottery and dabbling in human trafficking.
When Bigbee won a cool $1 million in the Missouri Powerball, she immediately made it her mission to buy all the shit ever: a place in Florida, a car, cool things for family and friends, and, of course, some really awesome stuff for her cat (because everyone knows cats will cut a bitch if they don't get their share). Sadly, a million is only sufficient to buy a moderately impressive amount of shit, a fiscal fact that Bigbee realized two years later as the floor beneath her money pile finally started to show. This created a considerable problem: She wasn't happy with returning to a more modest lifestyle, but she didn't have the means to continue her current one.
What she did have, however, was an 8-week-old grandson. So she did the logical thing and attempted to sell him to a stranger. For $75,000. That she was willing to haggle down to $30,000.
"We also offer some very attractive installment plans."
How ... how does that even work? Are baby markets a thing in Florida? Can any random schmuck just wander into a seemingly abandoned parking lot with a spare baby and a dozen black cars will emerge with their drivers waving wads of cash and going, "Psst"? Please never answer that question.
Luckily, one of Bigbee's daughters (not the mother of the kid -- she was totally participating in the plan) called bullshit on mom's Kid-o-Mart aspirations and alerted the authorities. Bigbee and her boyfriend were arrested before the transaction could take place, and the saddest real-life imitation of an Elmore Leonard novel this side of North Korea finally ground to a halt.
Remember the beginning of this article, where I offered a seemingly off-handed quip about a swimming pool full of strippers and crack? That wasn't a throwaway line -- it was a brick prologue to the story of Michael Carroll, quite possibly the most gleefully, gloriously horrible lottery winner to ever grace the Earth with his million-dollar bling and private demolition derby fields.
Carroll was a petty criminal that stumbled upon winning a British lottery jackpot in 2002. A 19-year-old advocate of the British "chav" culture (basically, white trash with some hip-hop aesthetics thrown in), he was the kind of guy who you automatically assume is wearing a court-ordered electronic tag. This might seem a tad elitist, if it wasn't for the fact that he celebrated his victory while wearing a court-ordered electronic tag.
Via MSN Money
The champagne says "poise and class." Everything else says "those bubbles are not coming from the Jacuzzi."
The British yellow press immediately recognized Carroll's worth as potential tabloid fodder, dubbing him The Lotto Lout and gleefully throwing fuel in the money bonfire that the kid would surely become. He didn't disappoint: What followed can accurately be described as Animal House with an all-Belushi cast. In the span of eight years, Carroll blew his entire $15 million fortune on a massive, nonstop binge of prostitutes, drugs, neighborhood-wrecking parties, and constant petty and not-so-petty criminal behavior, all fueled by a $3,300 bag of crack and a couple of bottles of vodka. Per day.
Eventually, things got so bad that the officials in Carroll's hometown were forced to set up an actual Michael Carroll Damage Hotline, a 911 lite solely devoted to reports of his trail of destruction. Yep, notoriously unfazeable British authorities basically classified the man as a natural disaster.
Via the Sun
An asteroid, possibly.
Somehow, Carroll survived his eight solid years of debauchery. His money and entourage, however, are long gone. These days, Carroll is a 30-year-old, somber man who knows full well his ass has been thrown right back to square one. He's supporting himself with odd jobs and insisting that he's happy to live the quiet life again (although that doesn't stop him from continuing to play the lottery).
And with that, we conclude our story. Because it's customary for articles like this to end with a valuable life lesson, here's one from Mr. Carroll himself:
"When you give nine million pounds to a 19-year-old, what do you think is going to happen?"
Now we know, Mr. Carroll. Thank you for taking one for the team, I guess?
Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked columnist, freelance editor, and only vaguely aware of the concept of money. Follow him on Twitter.