He Hit It Big in the Lottery, Then Blew It All. Now, a Tragic End

Body of 69-year-old Leroy Fick found in Michigan's Tittabawassee River
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2021 7:00 AM CDT
He Hit It Big in the Lottery, Then Blew It All. Now, a Tragic End
Winning numbers are shown on the Michigan Lottery webpage in Detroit on Jan. 30, 2015.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

A sad ending out of Michigan to a story that should've had a happier one. MLive.com reports that a body was found last Saturday floating in the Tittabawassee River, near Northwood University in Midland. Police have now IDed the body as 69-year-old Leroy Fick, an Auburn resident who won a $2 million jackpot 11 years ago on the Michigan Lottery's Make Me Rich! TV game show. Authorities haven't disclosed the cause of death, but they say it doesn't appear Fick's death is suspicious. After his June 2010 win, Fick took home about $1 million after taxes, but what happened next now serves as a "cautionary tale" to other lottery winners, notes Play Michigan. ClickOnDetroit.com notes that Fick, who ended up on TLC's Lottery Changed My Life program, dumped about $200,000 into the construction of a new home, as well as $200,000 into annuities.

More money was spent on investments, as well as such items as a new Chevy Camaro, swords, slot machines, and a "significant amount of fireworks," per MLive.com. Just two years after he'd won, Fick was broke. It emerged that he and another lottery winner had been collecting government assistance despite their wins, prompting state lawmakers to change the criteria on who can apply for food aid. Fick also struggled with legal troubles, with a 45-day jail stint in 2012 for a drug conviction, followed by another prison sentence later that year for convictions of larceny of a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm. "The whole thing just blew up in my face," Fick told the judge in the latter case at the time. "I thought people would love me if I helped them out some. I had the wrong idea, I guess. They all turned on me and that was it." The Midland Police Department is asking anyone with information on Fick's death to call 989-839-4719. (More lottery winner stories.)

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