|Have you ever noticed the Pennsylvania Lottery billboards on the sides of the highways that display the most recent amount of the jackpots for the Power Ball, Mega Millions and other offerings from the lottery? At some point in time, we’ve all driven by those signs and dreamt about winning that big jackpot. But what would you say if I told you million-dollar lottery dreams can easily turn into nightmares shortly after a jackpot winner’s identity is disclosed?
One such story of the perils of winning the lottery is that of William “Bud” Post, a former resident of Erie who purchased one of two winning tickets for a jackpot totaling a little more than $32 million in 1988. Mr. Post claimed $16.2 million and opted to receive 26 annual payments of approximately $500,000. While Bud Post may have been living the dream, his life went south rather quickly. Since winning the $16.2 millions Mr. Post endured the following:
Bud Post’s story is just one of many cautionary tales about what happens when the identity of a lottery jackpot winner is disclosed. As lottery jackpots continue to grow to hundreds of millions of dollars, winners will be at a higher risk of fraud, threats of physical harm, threats against their property and family and other serious and dangerous situations. Accordingly, I am introducing legislation that would protect the identity of any individual that wins a lottery prize of $1 million or more. The Lottery is permitted disclose the city, township or borough of residence, county of residence and prize amount paid to the winner to maintain the integrity of its operations, however, a prize may voluntarily waive their confidentiality if they so choose.
- Three months after collecting his first payment, Bud’s debt’s totaled $500,000 thanks to lavish spending and investment purchases for his siblings.
- In 1989, his estranged brother attempted to hire a hitman to kill him so he could inherit his remaining lottery winnings.
- In 1989, he was sued by his former landlord and on-again/off-again girlfriend Anna Kaprik who claimed Mr. Post offered to split the winnings with her.
- After three years, a judge ruled that in Kraprik’s favor and Post was ordered to pay Kraprik one-third of all the proceeds. Post denied the existence of an agreement and stressed his inability to pay due to excessive debt. After refusing to forfeit his 1992 annual payment to the court to satisfy his debt to Kraprik, the judge order Mr. Post’s lottery payments be frozen until the dispute was resolved.
- In 1998, he was arrested after he refused to surrender to serve a 6- to 24-month prison sentence on a previous assault conviction.
- After serving his sentence, Bud Post lived out his years on a $450-per-month disability check before passing away on January 15, 2006.
Let’s work together to protect lottery prize winners from scammers, thieves and individuals who seek to capitalize on someone else’s good fortune. While we may not be able to make dreams come true, we can certainly assist in preventing them from becoming nightmares.