A North Carolina woman who won an astounding $188 million Powerball lottery — the fifth largest in the state’s history — stands by her decision to use $21 million of her winnings to bail out her alleged drug dealer boyfriend from jail.
Marie Holmes, a mother of four, won the prize of her life in February 2015 when she hit the Powerball jackpot after buying a ticket at a gas station in Shallotte, North Carolina.
Holmes' boyfriend Lamarr McDow, 31, fathered her youngest child, 1-year-old Ebony, the Daily Mail reports. He was arrested in November 2014 on heroin trafficking charges with two other men. Police seized 1,600 bags of heroin.
McDow, whose nickname is "Hot Sauce," was charged with conspiracy to traffic heroin, which carries a minimum sentence of 225 months in North Carolina.
He learned about her win in the newspaper, and weeks after Holmes received a lump sum of $88 nillion after taxes, she used $3 million from her winnings to bail him out of jail. He then moved in with her at a newly built $350,000 home she had purchased on a gated estate in Shallotte.
In August 2015, she posted $6 million bail after McDow was arrested at her home for breaking the rules of a pre-trial release program from his drug charges.
On Jan. 1, Holmes coughed up another $12 million when Hot Sauce was arrested for being implicated in an illegal street race.
Holmes might lose $21 million -- a quarter of her winnings -- if McDow fails to show up for his hearings.
A tattooed McDow has benefited greatly from Holmes' kindness, having been set up with an auto repair business and gifted a $15,000 diamond-encrusted Rolex watch. He also sports a chunky gold and diamond bracelet and drives a new pickup truck.
It's a far cry from when he was arrested in 2014, and he filled out a court report listing his income as zero and assets of only $120.
“We are a couple, and I am the father of her youngest child," McDow told Daily Mail Online. "This is what people do for each other. She has the money and she can do what she wants with it.”
McDow said that before Holmes' lottery win he had helped her while she was living in a mobile home with her four children and mother.
“We were together for two years before she won the Powerball,” he added. “Her youngest child is my daughter. I have known her for a long time and people round where she lived will tell you that I am a good man who has helped out others.”
McDow and Holmes are now moving out of their home in the gated community. McDow said it's because their neighbors have been harassing them.
“We were the only black family on the estate and they did not like it,” he claimed.
After announcing she had won the Powerball, Holmes said in TV interviews she would donate a tenth of her winnings to the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Shallotte where she and her family were part of the church.
She created the Marie Holmes Foundation last year with an initial investment of $9.7 million, and in November 2015, she wrote out a personal check for $680,000 to her church, according to Fox News.
Before winning the lottery, Holmes had worked at Wal-Mart and as a server at McDonalds to support her family.
All of her four children are under 10, and one has cerebral palsy.