The story that one of the winners of the $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot overdosed on cocaine and died while surrounded by hookers continues to go viral. The story is fueled by the fact that only one winner of the three winning Powerball tickets has come forward to claim their prize. John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, have appeared on talk shows and spoken openly about their incredible win. The other remaining jackpot winners — one in California, the other in Florida — have yet to come forward and claim their prize.
The fact that these two winning jackpot tickets remain unclaimed has sparked rumors and conversations across social media networks. Some feel the winners may have inadvertently thrown their tickets away, not realizing they were embarking upon a future fortune. Others have questioned if the winners want to remain anonymous as long as possible and avoid the public spotlight that has shone bright on the Robinsons. Others have more nefarious excuses for the lack of the winners’ publicity. Quite simply, the internet has surmised that the California Powerball jackpot winner went crazy with his millions, purchased a kilo of cocaine, and died while hookers stood idly by and watched.
— Jennifer Alwynt (@jenniferalwynt) February 1, 2016
According to the official Powerball website, the California jackpot winner as well as the Florida jackpot winner, have yet to come forward. The rumor surrounding the Powerball jackpot winner’s overdose on cocaine surfaced shortly after the January 13, 2016, $1.58 billion drawing. However, there has never been a public announcement regarding the winners of the Florida ticket or the California ticket, yet the rumor continues to state the name of the California winner. You can see the information on the $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot winners at the official site.
— EBN (#Elygantthings) (@EBNAdvertising) January 23, 2016
RT BITEMEAPPLESIGN “31 year old James Hugston” https://t.co/GhJt5uAq0K
“32 year old Brian Tucker” https://t.co/S901HFP03p
— John Harris (@winthenextlotto) January 20, 2016
The story about the Powerball jackpot winner spread so quickly that it prompted Snopes to address it. Snopes is a website that looks at popular rumors and hoaxes and helps separate truth from fiction. The story about the Powerball winner’s overdose has trended on Snopes throughout January and is still going strong. Snopes first reported on the story on Jan. 17. Snopes addressed the rumor that’s circulated on social media networks. The following is the original message that spread on Facebook and Twitter.
“1 of the 3 $1.5B Powerball jackpot winners was found in his new multi-million dollar home dead of an accidental cocaine overdose.
“32 Year-old James Hugston was 1 of the 3 lucky winners to hit the billion dollar jackpot. He received an estimated $327 million lump sum. Now most people are aware it takes 4-8 weeks to collect your money after you put in a claim. But Mr. Hugston couldn’t wait and took out a loan from a money lender to start blowing his millions immediately. His first purchase was a multi-million dollar furnished home.
“Rick Kingston a close friends of James said he was trying to keep his identity a secret and was doing it well by quickly moving out his 2 bedroom apartment where he lived with his girlfriend who he broke up with once he won.
“At the multi-million dollar home where James Hugston was found dead over a kilo of cocaine was found close friend Rick Kingston said ‘James went crazy fast! First he bought this huge house then cocaine and invited over 10 hookers from backpage’ a website know for prostitution.”
Not only has the California Powerball winner not been revealed, but exactly who James Hugston is or why the name was selected for this rumor remains a mystery. According to Snopes, the story originated on TMZWorldstar.com, a site known for promulgating false news. There is no California Powerball jackpot winner named James Hugston and certainly not one who won the $1.58 billion jackpot.
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