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$14.3 million Hot Lotto prize claim withdrawn

Hot LottoHot Lotto: $14.3 million Hot Lotto prize claim withdrawn
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Includes video report

Someone really doesn't want to be a multimillionaire.

Crawford Shaw, the enigmatic 76-year-old New York attorney who represented a trust attempting to claim a Hot Lotto jackpot worth as much as $14.3 million, abruptly withdrew any claim to the money Thursday evening.

Apparently even Shaw doesn't know the identity of the person or persons behind Hexham Investments Trust, the group that sought the prize. Shaw told Iowa Lottery officials that the trust was a corporation in Belize, a small Central American country of about 330,000 people in a land area about one-sixth the size of Iowa.

The withdrawal ended nearly a month of wrangling between lottery officials and Shaw that included a proposal from Hexham to donate the after-tax proceeds from the jackpot — more than $7 million — to Iowa charities.

Lottery officials declined the charity offer, saying state law required them to confirm that the ticket was legally purchased, possessed and presented to them.

Without the names of the people behind the trust, the lottery couldn't release the prize, nor was it allowed to turn the money over to charity, Iowa Lottery Chief Executive Officer Terry Rich said Thursday.

Additionally, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller's office issued a joint statement saying they had opened an investigation into the case. Both agencies declined to comment further.

"It doesn't get much weirder than this," said Mary Neubauer, Iowa Lottery spokeswoman.

Two local lawyers turned ticket in

Thursday evening's revelations provided the strangest twist yet in a bizarre jackpot case that has stretched more than a year.

The winning ticket was bought at a northeast Des Moines convenience store in December 2010. The jackpot, then worth $16.5 million, went unclaimed for nearly a year until two attorneys from Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts PC, a Des Moines firm, took the ticket to Iowa Lottery headquarters less than two hours before it was to expire.

Shaw had signed the ticket as a trustee for Hexham Investments Trust. Since then, the would-be winners have remained hidden behind the trust and have declined to come forward. Iowa law requires winners' names and addresses to be made public, though winners don't have to make a public statement or appearance.

On Monday, lottery officials met with law enforcement officials and issued a deadline of 3 p.m. today for trust members to either reveal their identities or forfeit the prize. No names? No winnings.

Despite one 90-minute, face-to-face meeting with Shaw and at least three meetings with Davis Brown attorneys, lottery officials never were able to get the answers they required to pay the prize.

Who bought the ticket? Why did the buyer wait two hours shy of a year to have the ticket presented? And why, even after hiring lawyers in both New York and Des Moines to stake a claim to the prize, won't the person step into the sunlight to get the money?

"There is delayed gratification — like waiting until Christmas to open your presents rather than receiving them on the day the person bought them for you," said Bethany Weber, an Iowa State University assistant psychology professor. "But I don't think there's any clinical term for waiting a year to claim $14 million."

On Thursday evening, about 22 hours before today's deadline, Shaw and Hexham gave up.

Lottery security officials had verified this much: The ticket is authentic. It was found to have been neither forged nor tampered with.

Neither Iowa law nor lottery rules specifically grant lottery officials the authority to set a deadline for revealing an identity and address after a prize has been claimed.

Then again, lottery officials have never had to wait nearly a year for a jackpot winner to come forward. And when the winner or winners have come forward in the past, they were usually forthcoming with the details needed to claim the cash.

"Typically, it takes about two hours to gather all the information we need from a winner," Rich said. "This has gone on for nearly a month."

Tape, trust accord offer little help

The evidence was minimal. Lottery officials have an in-store security video recording of the ticket being purchased. They have said the tape clearly shows the sale, but they have declined to describe the appearance or gender or offer any other identifying information about the buyer.

Shaw presented lottery officials with a copy of the Hexham trust agreement, but lottery officials say it did not give them the information they needed to release the prize.

Lottery officials declined a Des Moines Register request to release both the video and the trust document, citing the ongoing investigation.

Some state lotteries allow trusts to claim prizes, and the Iowa Lottery has issued checks to trusts in the past, but lottery officials always have known who was behind the trust. This time, they don't.

Allowing a winner to be hidden behind paperwork degrades public interest in the game, said David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

"One way to look at it is if you can't put a name to a winner, it raises the question, 'Is anybody really winning?' " Gale said. "You've got to protect the integrity of the games, and knowing who winners are is a major part of that."

Secrecy bids have rarely succeeded

Efforts to keep lottery winnings secret have occurred elsewhere, with limited success.

In 1999, a California woman won a lottery prize, then sought a quick divorce from her husband without disclosing her winnings. A judge ruled that the woman had to forfeit the entire $1.3 million jackpot to her ex-husband because of the state's community property laws.

In January 2011, a $390 million winner in Idaho disappeared after claiming her jackpot. She had not legally divorced her estranged husband. Both had been arrested on domestic assault charges in the course of their relationship. The woman was forced to give half the money to her husband.

In November, three Connecticut bankers claimed a $240 million Powerball prize. ABC News later said the men had formed a trust to claim the jackpot for an "anonymous friend," which a British newspaper, the Daily Mail, said was actually a wealthy client of the bankers.

Regardless of who was behind the trust trying to claim the Hot Lotto prize, Iowa Lottery officials had insisted they would rather pay than not — if they could have gotten information from the trust.

"We have the money, and we want to pay it," Neubauer, the lottery spokeswoman, said earlier this week. "We just need that basic information."

But it appears this mystery will go unsolved.

VIDEO:  Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich holds news conference

Des Moines Register

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43 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by Littleoldlady.
Page 1 of 3
rdgrnr's avatar - walt
Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
United States
Member #73904
April 28, 2009
14903 Posts
Offline
Posted: January 27, 2012, 7:56 pm - IP Logged

Now I'm thinking illegal alien who had it taken from him and then conveniently disappeared.


                                             
                     
                                         

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                   

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                            --Edmund Burke

 

 

    Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
    Little Rock, AR
    United States
    Member #68365
    December 19, 2008
    232 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: January 27, 2012, 8:08 pm - IP Logged

    Now I'm thinking illegal alien who had it taken from him and then conveniently disappeared.

    I am not sure there is a law that prevents illegal aliens from playing the lottery.

      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
      Chief Bottle Washer
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #1
      May 31, 2000
      21590 Posts
      Online
      Posted: January 27, 2012, 8:16 pm - IP Logged

      Illegal aliens can successfully claim jackpot prizes.  There is no residency requirement, and I'm not aware of any state that limits lawbreakers from playing and winning the lottery.

       

      Check the State Lottery Report Card
      What grade did your lottery earn?

       

      Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
      Help eliminate computerized drawings!

        rdgrnr's avatar - walt
        Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
        United States
        Member #73904
        April 28, 2009
        14903 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: January 27, 2012, 8:30 pm - IP Logged

        OK, an illegal alien who didn't know what to do and trusted the wrong people to help him or an illegal alien who is wanted for something and couldn't claim it.

        If there are now 2 investigations continuing, I think they wanna know what happened to the guy in the picture who bought the ticket.


                                                     
                             
                                                 

         

         

         

         

                                                                                                           

        "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                    --Edmund Burke

         

         

          haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
          egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
          United States
          Member #112972
          June 29, 2011
          3167 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: January 27, 2012, 8:37 pm - IP Logged

          just keeps getting more interesting,should be called "what not to do if you wish to keep a low profile"

          today i seen the story on just about every news outlet there is.

          Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

            Avatar
            Seattle, Washington
            United States
            Member #121158
            January 3, 2012
            88 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: January 27, 2012, 8:52 pm - IP Logged

            I think I understand this now.  The only reason to put a Belize corporation into a trust is to hide the ownership of the corporation.  I'm guessing that the person(s) who own the Belize corporation do not want the US government to know where they are, and leaking their name to the public makes them a target for whatever they're hiding in Belize for: tax evasion, extradition for crimes, etc.


              United States
              Member #111446
              May 25, 2011
              6323 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: January 27, 2012, 8:57 pm - IP Logged

              Illegal aliens can successfully claim jackpot prizes.  There is no residency requirement, and I'm not aware of any state that limits lawbreakers from playing and winning the lottery.

              Thanks for the education Todd.

               

              I wasn't aware of the no residency requirement to claim a jackpot prize.  Thumbs Up

                Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                S.E.Iowa
                United States
                Member #120509
                December 21, 2011
                534 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: January 27, 2012, 9:48 pm - IP Logged

                This just gets curiouser & curiouser.

                When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                  Avatar
                  Monkey Butt, USA
                  United States
                  Member #54569
                  August 23, 2007
                  1124 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: January 27, 2012, 10:27 pm - IP Logged

                  Includes video report

                  Someone really doesn't want to be a multimillionaire.

                  Crawford Shaw, the enigmatic 76-year-old New York attorney who represented a trust attempting to claim a Hot Lotto jackpot worth as much as $14.3 million, abruptly withdrew any claim to the money Thursday evening.

                  Apparently even Shaw doesn't know the identity of the person or persons behind Hexham Investments Trust, the group that sought the prize. Shaw told Iowa Lottery officials that the trust was a corporation in Belize, a small Central American country of about 330,000 people in a land area about one-sixth the size of Iowa.

                  The withdrawal ended nearly a month of wrangling between lottery officials and Shaw that included a proposal from Hexham to donate the after-tax proceeds from the jackpot — more than $7 million — to Iowa charities.

                  Lottery officials declined the charity offer, saying state law required them to confirm that the ticket was legally purchased, possessed and presented to them.

                  Without the names of the people behind the trust, the lottery couldn't release the prize, nor was it allowed to turn the money over to charity, Iowa Lottery Chief Executive Officer Terry Rich said Thursday.

                  Additionally, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller's office issued a joint statement saying they had opened an investigation into the case. Both agencies declined to comment further.

                  "It doesn't get much weirder than this," said Mary Neubauer, Iowa Lottery spokeswoman.

                  Two local lawyers turned ticket in

                  Thursday evening's revelations provided the strangest twist yet in a bizarre jackpot case that has stretched more than a year.

                  The winning ticket was bought at a northeast Des Moines convenience store in December 2010. The jackpot, then worth $16.5 million, went unclaimed for nearly a year until two attorneys from Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts PC, a Des Moines firm, took the ticket to Iowa Lottery headquarters less than two hours before it was to expire.

                  Shaw had signed the ticket as a trustee for Hexham Investments Trust. Since then, the would-be winners have remained hidden behind the trust and have declined to come forward. Iowa law requires winners' names and addresses to be made public, though winners don't have to make a public statement or appearance.

                  On Monday, lottery officials met with law enforcement officials and issued a deadline of 3 p.m. today for trust members to either reveal their identities or forfeit the prize. No names? No winnings.

                  Despite one 90-minute, face-to-face meeting with Shaw and at least three meetings with Davis Brown attorneys, lottery officials never were able to get the answers they required to pay the prize.

                  Who bought the ticket? Why did the buyer wait two hours shy of a year to have the ticket presented? And why, even after hiring lawyers in both New York and Des Moines to stake a claim to the prize, won't the person step into the sunlight to get the money?

                  "There is delayed gratification — like waiting until Christmas to open your presents rather than receiving them on the day the person bought them for you," said Bethany Weber, an Iowa State University assistant psychology professor. "But I don't think there's any clinical term for waiting a year to claim $14 million."

                  On Thursday evening, about 22 hours before today's deadline, Shaw and Hexham gave up.

                  Lottery security officials had verified this much: The ticket is authentic. It was found to have been neither forged nor tampered with.

                  Neither Iowa law nor lottery rules specifically grant lottery officials the authority to set a deadline for revealing an identity and address after a prize has been claimed.

                  Then again, lottery officials have never had to wait nearly a year for a jackpot winner to come forward. And when the winner or winners have come forward in the past, they were usually forthcoming with the details needed to claim the cash.

                  "Typically, it takes about two hours to gather all the information we need from a winner," Rich said. "This has gone on for nearly a month."

                  Tape, trust accord offer little help

                  The evidence was minimal. Lottery officials have an in-store security video recording of the ticket being purchased. They have said the tape clearly shows the sale, but they have declined to describe the appearance or gender or offer any other identifying information about the buyer.

                  Shaw presented lottery officials with a copy of the Hexham trust agreement, but lottery officials say it did not give them the information they needed to release the prize.

                  Lottery officials declined a Des Moines Register request to release both the video and the trust document, citing the ongoing investigation.

                  Some state lotteries allow trusts to claim prizes, and the Iowa Lottery has issued checks to trusts in the past, but lottery officials always have known who was behind the trust. This time, they don't.

                  Allowing a winner to be hidden behind paperwork degrades public interest in the game, said David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

                  "One way to look at it is if you can't put a name to a winner, it raises the question, 'Is anybody really winning?' " Gale said. "You've got to protect the integrity of the games, and knowing who winners are is a major part of that."

                  Secrecy bids have rarely succeeded

                  Efforts to keep lottery winnings secret have occurred elsewhere, with limited success.

                  In 1999, a California woman won a lottery prize, then sought a quick divorce from her husband without disclosing her winnings. A judge ruled that the woman had to forfeit the entire $1.3 million jackpot to her ex-husband because of the state's community property laws.

                  In January 2011, a $390 million winner in Idaho disappeared after claiming her jackpot. She had not legally divorced her estranged husband. Both had been arrested on domestic assault charges in the course of their relationship. The woman was forced to give half the money to her husband.

                  In November, three Connecticut bankers claimed a $240 million Powerball prize. ABC News later said the men had formed a trust to claim the jackpot for an "anonymous friend," which a British newspaper, the Daily Mail, said was actually a wealthy client of the bankers.

                  Regardless of who was behind the trust trying to claim the Hot Lotto prize, Iowa Lottery officials had insisted they would rather pay than not — if they could have gotten information from the trust.

                  "We have the money, and we want to pay it," Neubauer, the lottery spokeswoman, said earlier this week. "We just need that basic information."

                  But it appears this mystery will go unsolved.

                  VIDEO:  Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich holds news conference

                  Lottery officials declined a Des Moines Register request to release both the video and the trust document, citing the ongoing investigation.

                   

                  Meaning if the investigation was not going on they would've released this information to the media.

                   

                  Some state lotteries allow trusts to claim prizes, and the Iowa Lottery has issued checks to trusts in the past, but lottery officials always have known who was behind the trust. This time, they don't.

                  Allowing a winner to be hidden behind paperwork degrades public interest in the game, said David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

                  "One way to look at it is if you can't put a name to a winner, it raises the question, 'Is anybody really winning?' " Gale said. "You've got to protect the integrity of the games, and knowing who winners are is a major part of that."

                   

                  You claim your jackpot in the form of a trust. The minute the media or any money grubber shows up on your doorstep begging.

                  Your first duty is to track down the lottery director and cut his/her lying tounge out. Why because it will be someone in his office that happily passes off the private information that should've stayed private. And since the director is at the helm of the lottery commission during the information leak, he/she is obligated to go down with the ship. (snip!! snip!!)

                  So much for being able to protect YOUR privacy..........

                   

                  P.S.

                  Has it occurred to anyone that there is a possibility that the ticket holder is already a multi-millionaire and that walking away from $14 million dollars is not that big of a deal for them?

                    Empress-N's avatar - voodoo
                    If That # Looks Good, Play It!!!
                    United States
                    Member #73903
                    April 28, 2009
                    1433 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: January 28, 2012, 12:21 am - IP Logged

                    The evidence was minimal. Lottery officials have an in-store security video recording of the ticket being purchased. They have said the tape clearly shows the sale, but they have declined to describe the appearance or gender or offer any other identifying information about the buyer.

                    Shaw presented lottery officials with a copy of the Hexham trust agreement, but lottery officials say it did not give them the information they needed to release the prize.

                    Lottery officials declined a Des Moines Register request to release both the video and the trust document, citing the ongoing investigation.

                     

                    If you know who the buyer is via video and you have the store location where the purchase was made.

                    Instructions:

                    1. Send a lottery representative to the store location with a photo of the buyer/winner

                    2. Meet with the GM or store Owner, give him a picture of the buyer/winner and leave a contact number and if the buyer/winner ever return to that store. The person in charge can give him the info to contact the lottery office.

                    3. If you really want to pay out the prize them track this person down and pay them.

                    {Bet they'd find this person(s) in a flash if they committed a crime against the lottery!!!}

                    It's still not too late to payout......Why......The winning ticket was submitted before the deadline, regardless of how it was submitted. This could have been stolen from the rightful owner who's not aware that it's his/her/their ticket thats causing all of this mess.

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                      Avatar
                      NY
                      United States
                      Member #23835
                      October 16, 2005
                      2842 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: January 28, 2012, 1:58 am - IP Logged

                      "The winning ticket was submitted before the deadline, regardless of how it was submitted."

                      It's clear that the winning ticket was presented in time.  The general info on the website says prizes must be "claimed" within 365 days, but I've got no idea what's in the fine print of the official rules. Depending on what the rules say this may fall into a grey area where the law is unclear. With Shaw withdrawing the trusts's claim the deadline may have made the ticket worthless, or simply having presented the ticket before the deadline  may preserve some future claim on the money.   It will be interesting to see what happens.

                        Avatar
                        Orlando, FL
                        United States
                        Member #115789
                        August 28, 2011
                        259 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: January 28, 2012, 8:29 am - IP Logged

                        OK. Forget everything that was said EXCEPT for the part where he says the prize money will go back into the pool so it can be won again.Thumbs Up

                          Avatar
                          MI
                          United States
                          Member #20229
                          August 14, 2005
                          59 Posts
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                          Posted: January 28, 2012, 10:49 am - IP Logged

                          Nobody, not even Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, walks away from a $14 million dollar payout without an extremely good reason. My guess is something highly illegal took place to acquire that ticket. Theft by a store owner or murder would be high on my list reasons.

                            Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                            S.E.Iowa
                            United States
                            Member #120509
                            December 21, 2011
                            534 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: January 28, 2012, 11:01 am - IP Logged

                            The Iowa Lottery continues to investigate,as does the Iowa Iowa Attorney General.

                            http://thegazette.com/2012/01/27/secrecy-key-to-offshore-accounts-linked-to-hot-lotto-case/

                            When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                            There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers