A North Carolina single mom who won a $188 million Powerball jackpot last year pledged to spend it on her kids and church, but so far the biggest beneficiary seems to be "Hot Sauce," her alleged drug dealer boyfriend.
Marie Holmes is a single mom of four, including a child with cerebral palsy; however, she has risked nearly a quarter of the $88 million she took home bailing her boyfriend Lamarr “Hot Sauce” McDow out of jail on drug, weapon and street racing charges.
Holmes, 27, hit the jackpot in February and, since then, has bailed McDow, 31, out of jail three times. McDow was already in jail on heroin and weapons charges when Holmes won the lottery, and shortly after the money came through, she posted his $3 million bail. In July, it was a $6 million bail for a weapons charge.
That amount skyrocketed to $12 million for the alleged street racing infraction this month. McDow was bailed out for that charge on Friday. Bail is doubled each time a defendant violates his conditions, Star News Online reported.
Nearly a year after she won the lottery, most of Holmes’ traveling has been to the bail bondsman’s office.
The total figure at risk for Holmes is $21 million, but she’s already lost a significant amount of money. Bail bondsmen in the Brunswick County area told WECT the going non-refundable rate is anywhere from 7 percent to 10 percent. Given that figure, Holmes has already spent anywhere from $1.47 million to $2.1 million.
McDow is set to make his first appearance on the street racing charge on Jan. 19, according to the News Online. If he doesn’t show up, Holmes stands to lose a sizeable amount of cash.
When she won the money in February 2015, Holmes was living with her family in a trailer in Shallotte, N.C. She was working jobs at Walmart, KFC, McDonald's and Subway, WWAY reported. Holmes said she gave her mom $3 to buy the winning ticket on her way to church.
Shortly after winning, everything changed.
She donated $680,000 to Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Shallotte, according to WNCN. She also moved into a new five-bedroom home.
And McDow, the father of Holmes’ youngest child, moved in, too.
McDow had twice been arrested in 2014 when authorities said they confiscated about 2,500 bags of heroin during separate incidents, WNCN reported. But even after the fortune came his girlfriend’s way, McDow couldn’t stay out of jail, constantly requiring Holmes to put her millions at stake to keep him free.
He was arrested at her sprawling new home in July for violating the terms of his March release, and was allegedly found at the time with marijuana and a gun. Holmes was also ensnared in that incident when officers said they found a half ounce or less of pot and drug paraphernalia at her house, according to WWAY.
During his most recent alleged episode, McDow supposedly helped organize a race of two Corvettes that were traveling 100 mph in a 45-mph zone, the News Online reported.
McDow has multiple prior convictions, including for assault inflicting serious injury, assault on a female and several felony drug possession convictions, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records reviewed by the News Online. He spent eight months behind bars in 2008 and 2009 for possession of a schedule II controlled substance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.