Lotto Winner Blew Fortune on Coke, Now Packs Cookies
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When a 19-year-old Michael Carroll won a £9.7 million ($14.4 million USD) UK lottery in 2002, he blew it all on drugs, gold jewelry, a mansion and prostitutes. But today he lives a less extravagant, more fulfilling life. Carroll was already a petty criminal when he became a teenage millionaire, collecting his winnings while wearing a police ankle monitor. “Before he won the lottery, he was a nuisance,” says Charles Joyce, a local official in Carroll's town. “He decided to carry on being a nuisance.” Carroll snorted cocaine through a solid gold pen, bought a mansion where he hosted demolition derbies and built a catapult to shoot at windows in the night—debauchery that earned him his nickname in the British tabloids: The "Lotto Lout." But Carroll's fortune ran dry in 2012 and he found himself broke, estranged from his daughter and contemplating suicide. “I camped out in the woods near Elgin [Scotland] because I had nowhere else to go and hadn’t started the job at the factory,” Carroll recalls. “Sitting there in the woods was when I first thought, I can sort myself out properly.” Today, he's happy making £204 (about $300 USD) a week, working in a shortbread cookie factory. “I treasure those wages more than any £9 million fortune,” Carroll says. “I’ve only got one chance left—I’d have been dead in six months if I’d carried on that lifestyle of drinking and drug taking.”