Lottery winner is now broke


Staff member
Jun 3, 2003
"Lottery winner is now broke"
Lottery winner is now broke after refusing to repay loan

ROANOKE, Va. — A woman who won millions in the Virginia lottery 11 years ago is now deep in debt to a Florida company that lent her money using the winnings as collateral.

Suzanne Mullins, who won $4.2 million in 1993, owes $154,147, a circuit court judge ruled last week.

Mullins couldn't be located for comment. Her lawyer, Michael Hart, blamed her debt on the lengthy illness of an uninsured son-in-law who needed $1 million in medical bills before he died in 2000.

"It's been a hard road," Hart said. "It's not been jet plane trips to the Bahamas."

When Mullins hit the jackpot in January 1993, she planned to split the money three ways with her husband and daughter. After taxes, Suzanne Mullins' share worked out to 20 annual payments of $47,778.84.

But the payments weren't enough, and money got tight. Mullins decided in 1998 to take out a loan with People's Lottery Foundation, a company with the financial niche of serving lottery winners who need their money faster than the annual payments can arrive. The foundation lent Mullins $197,746.15, which she agreed to pay back with her yearly checks from the Virginia lottery through 2006.

Then, when lottery rules changed in 2000 to allow winners to collect their money in a lump sum, Mullins decided to cash in on the remaining amount. She did not make any more payments on the loan after February 2001, according to a lawsuit filed by Singer Asset Finance Co., a Delaware company that was assigned the note from People's Lottery Foundation.

Hart declined to comment on Mullins' current financial situation or her ability to pay the judgment. Mark Kidd, the attorney who represented Singer Asset Finance Co., said his understanding is that Mullins has no assets.

Tom Nasta of Personal Financial Planning in Roanoke said it's not unusual for people to go broke after winning the lottery. Nasta said he once had a client who won $1 million and had only a mobile home to show for it within seven years.
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