The life of Alex Toth reads like a soap opera storyline. On the day in 1990 Toth bought a winning $13 million lottery ticket, his family -- which included a wife and six children from previous relationships -- had less than $25 to live on for the next seven days. They'd already spent weeks subsisting on beans, rice and canned soup.
Their lottery win, however, ushered in a celebrity-like lifestyle. After insisting the money wouldn't change their way of life, Toth and his wife spent three months living in a $1,000-a-night hotel room in Las Vegas. They gambled, dined, shopped and bought tickets to expensive live shows -- and then tired of it all. The Toths returned to Florida, put a double-wide on 10 acres and settled in with their children.
Before long, though, money troubles began to brew. Toth's wife accused her 19-year-old son and his girlfriend of killing her dog and setting fire to Toth's car after they withdrew his allowance. The Toths filed for bankruptcy -- twice -- and were convicted of filing three years of fraudulent tax returns. The IRS said the Toths had falsely reported gambling losses to offset their lottery winnings and now owed millions in back taxes. In addition, Toth was arrested multiple times for growing marijuana and writing bad checks.
Devoid of their money, the Toths began living with their son and daughter-in-law -- the same two people they'd once accused of animal cruelty and attempted murder. Apparently, they had reconciled. Just a short time later, Toth died penniless [source: Sullivan].