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Instant Millionaire: What is life like after you get rich?


“You go from such a high level to this low level where you’re like, ‘Am I going to be able to take advantage of this money? What’s going to happen, ”explained Pam Allen.

PORTLAND, Oregon – Winning the lottery is a dream of many. But the reality is something that few people have dealt with. Some of the winners who took our survey sat down to talk with us about the challenges life presented to them after winning the big one.

“My neighbors still don’t know.”

He loves sports cars and has the money to buy one, but he doesn’t.

“It’s not really me,” said the millionaire lottery winner. “Just knowing I could get one is enough.”

The lottery winner, who agreed to speak to KGW on condition of anonymity, landed a multi-million dollar jackpot more than three years ago. Many of his neighbors still do not know.

“We still have the same lifestyle. We haven’t changed much. You couldn’t choose us from a crowd, ”said the winner. “I have worked very hard to maintain my anonymity.

In Oregon, information about lottery prizes is common knowledge, including the name of the winners and the amount of their prize.

“I have found that when people find out, they treat you differently,” said the winner.

Many jackpot winners say they have received unsolicited calls from investment firms or accountants in the hope of managing their finances.


We asked 149 millionaires how they spent the jackpot

“At first it was quite difficult. My phone was ringing at 5:30 am and it was ridiculous – business after business, ”said the winner. “It got to the point where I wasn’t picking up the phone anymore. “

The jackpot winner used some of his money to help pay off other people’s mortgages and student loans, without fanfare or publicity.

“It feels good, it’s nice,” explained the winner. “I mean this is really the best way to spend the lottery money.”

A month after winning a $ 7.8 million Megabucks jackpot in March 2016, Pam Allen received heartbreaking news. Doctors diagnosed the Astoria woman with cancer.

“You go from such a high level to this low level where you’re like, ‘Am I going to be able to take advantage of this money? What’s going to happen, ”Allen explained.

After undergoing treatment, including chemotherapy, Allen is getting better. She and her husband Curt consider themselves lucky in more ways than one.

“Money won’t keep you healthy. It doesn’t make you happy, ”said Curt Allen. “If you are not happy before you make money, money will not make you happy. It might bring a little bit of happiness for a while, but not lasting happiness. “

The Allens said winning the lottery gave them financial security and easier retirement. They no longer stress to pay their bills.

Aside from a new house and a Toyota truck in the driveway, the Allens say their lifestyle hasn’t changed.

“We were happy with our life when we didn’t have the money,” Curt said. “We are satisfied now. “

The winner spends most of their days “asking for help” in the street

Standing on a street corner in central Oregon is not where you would expect to find a Megabucks millionaire.

“I’m on the side of the street asking for help with a sign,” said Dennis Harny.

Harny, 63, said he spends four days a week outside of St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. He carries a sign across his chest and back displaying messages critical of the hospital.

“In fact, people were throwing things at me. I was hit with a burrito, ”Harny said.

Harny admits he would rather focus on better times.

In July 1998, Harny hit the jackpot for $ 4.2 million after he tied six numbers in the Oregon Lottery Megabucks game.

“I didn’t know what to do with the ticket,” said Harny, who buried the ticket in his backyard before turning it into a lottery seat in Salem. After taxes, he collected a lump sum payment of $ 1.3 million.

Harny said he initially invested his money in treasury bills and then moved it into real estate.

“The money I make now with everything is probably equivalent to what I could make with a well-paying job. The only difference is I don’t have to work for it, ”Harny said.

Winning the lottery has allowed Harny to travel and buy a nice house, but he’s not immune to life’s challenges.

His longtime girlfriend committed suicide about five years ago. Harny said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He is hampered by a traumatic injury to his leg.

“I’ve had such good things that can happen to you and such bad things,” Harny explained.

In June 2014, St. Charles Health Systems issued a trespassing ban order banning Harny from its hospitals and outpatient clinics except for emergency care.

“This trespassing ban order is based on your communications with law enforcement during and after your volunteer shifts,” read a letter dated June 2, 2014. The letter was signed by Gary Bruce, vice president and general counsel of St. Charles Health Systems. .

Harny said he didn’t understand why he was banned from Bend Hospital, where he volunteered for more than a decade. He also received treatment in Saint-Charles.

“I lost the care of my leg – I lost the social life I had by going there and volunteering – people loved me,” Harny said as he stood by. outside the hospital.

St. Charles made the following statement regarding Dennis Harny:

“While we don’t comment on specific legal matters, we would generally only post a break-in notice if someone exhibited aggressive, illegal, or violent behavior as defined by company policy. This could include harassment, abusive language, illegal or disruptive conduct, threats, physical or verbal assault, or failure to follow staff guidelines regarding appropriate conduct.

Harny said the specialist doctor who treated his leg also withdrew from treatment in 2014. A spokesperson for the Center Orthopedic & Neurosurgical Care & Research declined to comment, citing patient privacy laws.

The lottery jackpot winner said standing outside the hospital with a sign is now part of his routine. It’s like a job.

“I’m not protesting. I’m trying to get some help for myself, ”Harny said, while waving to the traffic.

Lottery winner goes to jail, police collect jackpot

Christina Elizabeth Goodenow hit it hard on October 9, 2005. She bought a Million Dollar Jackpot ticket at the Fair City Market in Central Point, Oregon.

The winning scratch ticket paid $ 1 million. Only problem, Goodenow bought the ticket with a stolen credit card, according to Medford police.

Prosecutors claimed Goodenow stole the identity of her boyfriend’s deceased mother and used her credit card to make $ 12,000 in purchases, including lottery tickets.

Goodenow was charged with aggravated theft, forgery and cheating. She pleaded without challenge and was sentenced to probation, according to court records.

As part of his conviction, the judge ordered that the lottery jackpot be forfeited to the Medford Police Department.

Goodenow tried to keep his winnings by arguing that the punishment was excessive. The Oregon Court of Appeals dismissed the claim and ruled that Medford Police could collect the jackpot.

In 2012, the Medford Police Chief told the Mail Tribune that the money would be used to expand the evidence room and property. About 10 percent of the money went to the general state fund, as required by confiscation laws.


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