Perhaps if she kept everything secret, it would have turned out differently. “God led me to them”, he said as he smiled at her sweetly. Little did she know the secrets that lay beneath his wolf-like grin.
Sometimes the people we believe to be most deserving turn out to be nothing like we thought they were.
26-year-old Marie Holmes was a struggling single mother-of-four when she struck it big and won the North Carolina Powerball lottery that was worth a whopping 564 million dollars.
Some people work all their lives trying to achieve even a sliver of the financial freedom Holmes had gained. But this isn’t the tale you would expect from someone who won the lottery.
Holmes worked hard to support her four children. Taking up a job at McDonald’s and Walmart, she did whatever it took to take care of them. But life wasn’t done challenging her.
It was one of the hardest situations Holmes had ever faced when one of her children was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The diagnosis meant she could no longer work to look after him. She was in crisis until a miraculous stroke of luck appeared.
She thought she had it bad before but now she was in a financial and emotional downfall. She cried as she wished she never won the lottery in the first place.
Holmes was deliriously happy and profoundly thankful when she found out she won the lottery. She couldn’t believe her luck. But neither could everyone around her…
Hitting The Jackpot
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw the ticket and checked it”, Holmes reminisced. The North Carolina Powerball jackpot was at 564 million dollars when Holmes won.
However, two other people also had winning tickets so Holmes won $188 million instead and needed to go through a long process to claim her winnings. It was the start of a downward spiral.
Not As It Seems
As an avid church-goer, Holmes assumed her luck with grace and pledged to donate 10% of her money to her church.
“All the struggle that I ever went through, it was all for them. I want them to understand that money doesn’t change you, but it can help you”, Holmes said. Her life looked like it was going right but behind the scenes, something was stirring.
Holmes moved out of her trailer and bought a $350,000 home in a wealthy neighborhood. She also set up college funds for her kids. It seemed like she had the right people around her to help her make decisions – until a headline shattered her public appearance.
Sometimes, the person who everyone believed deserved it the most becomes the person everyone turns on.
It seems impossible to ever blow millions of dollars, but as many financial experts say; if money isn’t properly invested, even a mind-boggling amount can vanish in the blink of an eye.
The local press soon got information about Holmes’s boyfriend who she bailed out of bail with her winnings numerous times. ‘’So many people are going on that she has paid $21 million to get me out of jail, but that ain’t true. It is just 10 percent”, her boyfriend, McDow said.
Love Is Blind
Holmes was desperately in love with McDow who she looked after financially. She also bought him a $15,000 Rolex and ended up spending millions on bailing him out of jail.
Holmes had a good heart but she had no financial advisors. Instead, she relied on the church for a sense of guidance and kept her word on donating to her place of worship. That’s when she met him.
Perhaps if she kept her charitable donations secret, no one would have been able to take advantage of her generous heart.
Holmes first met pastor Kevin Mathews at her local church in Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. It was after she won the lottery and they had an immediate connection. The pastor claimed that ”God led him to them”. If only she knew…
She believed he had good intentions and invited him to her home for ministerial services and to help her boyfriend, McDow, make better life decisions.
It wasn’t long before Pastor Mathews asked Holmes for 1.5 million dollars to help him build a retreat. Holmes agreed verbally to be polite but never signed anything. But as far as the pastor was aware, he had just made the deal of a lifetime.
He Says, She Says
Instead of waiting to get anything down on paper, Pastor Mathews went ahead and built the retreat with his own money, expecting to be reimbursed by Holmes.
When Holmes got word of his actions, she quickly denied forming a written agreement with Pastor Mathews, who then did the unthinkable.
Pastor Mathews came out to the public declaring his intention to sue Ms. Holmes for 10 million dollars for breaching their agreement.
However, considering nothing was put in writing, he didn’t have much of a case against her. But what he was doing was enough to tarnish her reputation – until the story went viral.
“Because of the emotional distress and mental stress they put me through, I had to start taking more medicine for anxiety and depression due to this situation”, Pastor Mathews claimed.
Online warriors quickly jumped on his case and expressed their outrage at his greedy behavior.
A Local Hero!
People quickly came to Holmes’ defense questioning how he could go after a loyal church-going woman, especially since she had already donated 700,000 dollars to the church.
The case never took off and it seemed the pastor just wanted to vilify Holmes. However, his plan backfired and Holmes has managed to keep her word and integrity. She has even set up a foundation to provide for underprivileged kids and struggling families!