Michael Carroll in Court for Stealing a Sandwich
In 2002, Michael Carroll won the U.K.'s National Lottery, netting a £9.7 million (U.S. $15.8 million) boost for his bank account. By 2012, however, the former garbage collector was living on public benefits, having squandered the money in myriad ways.
Carroll purchased -- and then destroyed -- a mansion, threw lavish parties for friends and made a daily habit of smoking $3,000 worth of crack cocaine. He also bought pricey cars, wrecked them on the self-made "race track" circling the grounds of his mansion and then left them to rust on the property's outskirts. A fair amount of his lotto payment went to prostitutes and overstated gold jewelry, and he developed a penchant for drinking alcohol and then driving around the otherwise quiet streets of Norfolk, England. The disturbances occurred on such a predictable basis, a hotline was established so neighbors could report Carroll to the local council.
Eventually, financial shortfalls forced Carroll to sell the mansion at a loss and he was later caught leaving a grocery market without paying for the sandwich and drink he grabbed off store shelves. The $17 items ended up costing him nearly $138 in court costs.
"I only started to think about three things -- drugs, sex and gold," lamented Carroll after his downfall. "The dealer who introduced me to crack has more of my lotto money than I do" [source: Silver].