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Hamilton lottery winner fritters away $10 million | Toronto Star

She lost a lot of friends, a lot of family. By 2007, according to a Hamilton Spectator interview at the time, Tirabassi had already blown through half of her winnings, and was living off interest from investments on the other $5 million. That year, Vinny crashed the Mustang. He pleaded guilty to two counts of driving impaired and causing bodily harm. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and his licence was revoked for five years. He would serve time again in 2011 after breaching his conditions and driving with a disqualified licence. In 2008, while Vinny was in jail, the couple lost the Ancaster https://www.rebelmouse.com/lottocashmachine/ house. She moved to Hagersville, Ont., and, once Vinny was out of jail, they spent some time in Edmonton. They moved around a lot. Today, Hamiltons penniless millionaires live on a quiet industrial street not far from where she started. The walls of the modest home are covered in family photos and the odd relic from flashier times Michael Jackson memorabilia for her, Maple Leafs mementos for him. The Tirabassis worry about people knowing where they live. The win didnt make them a lot of friends and they fear being robbed. A lot of people do still think she has lots of money, Vinny says. How much is enough? The Dodge Charger and Hummer are nowhere in sight. The Cadillacs in storage; it needs work Tirabassi cant afford right now. When shes not taking the bus, she drives a hot pink electric bike. A lot of friends are gone, too. Loans were not repaid. (They said) theyve got enough so theyre OK, right? Vinny says. The Tirabassis advise other lottery winners to be wary of sharing their winnings too freely. Keep it to yourself and dont trust anybody but family, she says.
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But on Easter weekend in April 2004, she hit the jackpot, winning $10.5 million from a Super 7 ticket. More from thestar.com: For someone who spent her teen years bouncing from shelter to shelter, Tirabassi was unprepared for the millionaire lifestyle. That cheque might as well have been a money tree in the yard it felt like cash for life. Suddenly, life was but a dream. She took friends on wild, all-expenses-paid trips to Cancun, Florida, Las Vegas, California, the Caribbean. She bought a house, and married Vinny. They eventually had three children. In 2006, the newlyweds and blended Tirabassi family moved to a massive $515,000 home in Ancaster. Despite the lottery win, Tirabassi took out a $360,000 mortgage on the house. Vinny says they owned four vehicles: a bright yellow Hummer, a Mustang, a Dodge Charger and a $200,000-plus, souped-up Cadillac Escalade, Tirabassis baby. The vanity licence plate read BABIPHAT, after one of her favourite designer clothing lines. Ancaster neighbours hated that Cadillac. Equipped with interior turntables and sound mixers, it blared hip hop in the driveway that shook their quiet suburban street. Tirabassi didnt like her neighbours. They didnt like young people, she says. Besides the extravagant vehicles, a lot of the cash went to family and friends. Too much, Tirabassi now admits. She gave her parents $1 million. Another $1.75 million was divided between her four siblings. She bought several houses in Hamilton, renting them out at affordable rates to families. She said she paid peoples rent, loaned money to help out a friend when her husband went to jail, and helped another two friends start a business in Toronto.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/21/hamilton_lottery_winner_fritters_away_10_million.html

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