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N.J. Assembly panel clears one-year anonymity for lottery winners

New Jersey LotteryNew Jersey Lottery: N.J. Assembly panel clears one-year anonymity for lottery winners
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TRENTON, N.J. — Twenty-five years ago, Evelyn Adams had the unimaginable luck of winning the lottery twice in two years.

But opportunity morphed into misfortune for Adams, who ended up broke and living in a trailer after giving away and gambling away $5.4 million.

"Everybody wanted my money," the Ocean County woman told the website Bankrate.com in 2004. "Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language — 'no.'"

Monday, a state Assembly panel sought to close the barn door.

The Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee approved a bill (A2982) by a vote of 5-0 that would give lottery winners like Adams the option of remaining anonymous for a year after winning the jackpot. A companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

Under current law, winners' identities are public information, and the state Lottery Commission can publicize their names, hometowns, prize winnings and photographs.

A spokeswoman for the lottery did not respond to questions about the bill or describe the commission's policy on releasing information about the winners, although its website sometimes omits their names and photographs.

Still, Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), who sponsored the measure, said the information is all available through the Open Public Records Act. And he noted the game has changed from the small jackpots the state lottery awarded when it began in the early 1970s.

"If you look at our history when our lottery ... you didn't have these mega ball things, these multiple state lottery $300 million pots," Burzichelli said. "After some reading, there's a story here and there that surfaces about how this newfound wealth becomes a game changer for people."

He said he thought his proposal would also apply to such multistate lotteries as Powerball and Mega Millions, though he conceded he wasn't certain.

The lawmaker said he was led to introduce the bill from stories of misfortune among winners across the country:

  • Jeffrey Dampier, a $20 million winner in Illinois, was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend when they tried to get his money.
  • William Post III of Pennsylvania, who won more than $16 million in 1988, was sued for a third of his winnings by a former landlord, found out his brother hired a contract killer to murder him and his wife, and fired a gun at a man who showed up at his home to collect a debt.
  • Abraham Shakespeare of Florida, who won a $31 million jackpot in 2006, was found dead four years later. His girlfriend, Dee Dee Moore, was charged with the killing.
  • Jack Whittaker of West Virginia, who won a $315 million Mega Millions jackpot 10 years ago, claims to have given away $50 million and then ran into several personal problems and family deaths. "I think if you have something, there's always someone else that wants it," he said on the ABC program "20/20." "I wish I'd torn that ticket up."

But Burzichelli's bill has at least five critics.

In March, a jury in Elizabeth awarded five laborers in Elizabeth $20 million after ruling that their coworker, Americo Lopes, cheated them out a jackpot they had won together.

The lawyer for the five, Eric Kahn, said Lopes kept his jackpot a secret from his co-workers, who learned of their bounty after Lopes told a supervisor and confirmed it on the Mega Millions website.

"If they had a provision for him to remain anonymous, my clients would not have known," Kahn said. "It would have been speculation. When there's a pool involved and there's a dispute and they're allowed to remain anonymous, it could cause a major problem. It would be much harder to prove what has been proven."

Burzichelli said other laws protect co-workers from being duped, but "he's correct in the fact that it may have taken them a little bit longer."

NJ.com

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39 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Cocostar.
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jackpotismine's avatar - kanji for_peace.jpg
Kunming
China
Member #57910
January 23, 2008
3358 Posts
Offline
Posted: September 25, 2012, 8:41 am - IP Logged

Twenty-five years ago, Evelyn Adams had the unimaginable luck of winning the lottery twice in two years.

But opportunity morphed into misfortune for Adams, who ended up broke and living in a trailer after giving away and gambling away $5.4 million.

"Everybody wanted my money," the Ocean County woman told the website Bankrate.com in 2004. "Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language — 'no.'"

Monday, a state Assembly panel sought to close the barn door.

The Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee approved a bill (A2982) by a vote of 5-0 that would give lottery winners like Adams the option of remaining anonymous for a year after winning the jackpot. A companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

Under current law, winners' identities are public information, and the state Lottery Commission can publicize their names, hometowns, prize winnings and photographs.

A spokeswoman for the lottery did not respond to questions about the bill or describe the commission's policy on releasing information about the winners, although its website sometimes omits their names and photographs.

Still, Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), who sponsored the measure, said the information is all available through the Open Public Records Act. And he noted the game has changed from the small jackpots the state lottery awarded when it began in the early 1970s.

"If you look at our history when our lottery ... you didn't have these mega ball things, these multiple state lottery $300 million pots," Burzichelli said. "After some reading, there's a story here and there that surfaces about how this newfound wealth becomes a game changer for people."

He said he thought his proposal would also apply to such multistate lotteries as Powerball and Mega Millions, though he conceded he wasn't certain.

The lawmaker said he was led to introduce the bill from stories of misfortune among winners across the country:

  • Jeffrey Dampier, a $20 million winner in Illinois, was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend when they tried to get his money.
  • William Post III of Pennsylvania, who won more than $16 million in 1988, was sued for a third of his winnings by a former landlord, found out his brother hired a contract killer to murder him and his wife, and fired a gun at a man who showed up at his home to collect a debt.
  • Abraham Shakespeare of Florida, who won a $31 million jackpot in 2006, was found dead four years later. His girlfriend, Dee Dee Moore, was charged with the killing.
  • Jack Whittaker of West Virginia, who won a $315 million Mega Millions jackpot 10 years ago, claims to have given away $50 million and then ran into several personal problems and family deaths. "I think if you have something, there's always someone else that wants it," he said on the ABC program "20/20." "I wish I'd torn that ticket up."

But Burzichelli's bill has at least five critics.

In March, a jury in Elizabeth awarded five laborers in Elizabeth $20 million after ruling that their coworker, Americo Lopes, cheated them out a jackpot they had won together.

The lawyer for the five, Eric Kahn, said Lopes kept his jackpot a secret from his co-workers, who learned of their bounty after Lopes told a supervisor and confirmed it on the Mega Millions website.

"If they had a provision for him to remain anonymous, my clients would not have known," Kahn said. "It would have been speculation. When there's a pool involved and there's a dispute and they're allowed to remain anonymous, it could cause a major problem. It would be much harder to prove what has been proven."

Burzichelli said other laws protect co-workers from being duped, but "he's correct in the fact that it may have taken them a little bit longer."

Bravo! I think this is a good start.

I'll be trying Automatic Writing to get the winning lottery numbers.

Automatic writing  is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words are claimed to arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source.

    Avatar
    Texas
    United States
    Member #132460
    September 4, 2012
    483 Posts
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    Posted: September 25, 2012, 9:55 am - IP Logged

    I feel so sad about what happened to Ms. Adams.  She have all the money that time, but due to unavoidable situtions...everything disappeared.  If she were just so cautious how to spend her millions, or where to invest it, maybe the money is triple in amount right now.

      Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
      S.E.Iowa
      United States
      Member #120509
      December 21, 2011
      534 Posts
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      Posted: September 25, 2012, 10:00 am - IP Logged

      Bravo! I think this is a good start.

      I Agree!

      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

        RedStang's avatar - threefin zpsd48411ab.jpg
        Dutchess NY
        United States
        Member #121966
        January 21, 2012
        2686 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: September 25, 2012, 10:03 am - IP Logged

        When you fill a bird feeder, they all come. When it's empty, they are no where around. Winning some money has the same effect. i hope all states do this.

          haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
          egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
          United States
          Member #112972
          June 29, 2011
          3167 Posts
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          Posted: September 25, 2012, 10:10 am - IP Logged

          ".......bill has at least five critics"


          And big suprise, one is a lawyer.

          Of course, they see a gravytrain about to dry up.

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

            golfer1960's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcRrT_aqD1AR0JipFSPNrYwpV7HY4uVoKxOgcUYLzZ3SEdif
            Eatontown, NJ
            United States
            Member #119675
            November 29, 2011
            554 Posts
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            Posted: September 25, 2012, 10:16 am - IP Logged

            I love the fact that they are going to remain anonymous but why just a year? Won't people hound you after a year is over? Aren't you still putting the winners in danger after a year?

            Also, if the critics of this plan say that the lottery has to go public because of "office pools", then I say outlaw office pools. We all criticize the office pools anyway. All they do is create lawsuits.

            So in addition to allowing the winner to "stay anonymous", I urge the NJ lawmakers to outlaw office pools so that the winners could remain anonymous even after one year. Forever!

            There is real hope here but more change is needed to truly protect the identity of the winner.

            hope and change

              Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
              RIGHT HERE!!
              United States
              Member #123295
              February 17, 2012
              2234 Posts
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              Posted: September 25, 2012, 11:18 am - IP Logged

              OK, if they are going to wait a year, how are they going to annouce who won?

              Are they just going to put up the name on the website or is it going to be all

              over the news?

               

              If they just put it up on the website without any big announcements after a year

              no one will be paying attention and have forgotten by then.


                United States
                Member #116272
                September 7, 2011
                20244 Posts
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                Posted: September 25, 2012, 11:22 am - IP Logged

                What she never learned her whole life was.... How to take responsibilty for her own actions....


                  United States
                  Member #116272
                  September 7, 2011
                  20244 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: September 25, 2012, 11:26 am - IP Logged

                  I love the fact that they are going to remain anonymous but why just a year? Won't people hound you after a year is over? Aren't you still putting the winners in danger after a year?

                  Also, if the critics of this plan say that the lottery has to go public because of "office pools", then I say outlaw office pools. We all criticize the office pools anyway. All they do is create lawsuits.

                  So in addition to allowing the winner to "stay anonymous", I urge the NJ lawmakers to outlaw office pools so that the winners could remain anonymous even after one year. Forever!

                  There is real hope here but more change is needed to truly protect the identity of the winner.

                  hope and change

                  Perhaps a detail of armed security guards for every lottery winner???

                  Now there is...... CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!!!!!

                    onlymoney's avatar - stargate pyramid.jpg

                    United States
                    Member #128795
                    June 2, 2012
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                    Posted: September 25, 2012, 12:18 pm - IP Logged

                    I have no problem saying NO.

                      mrylndw's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
                      Pennsylvania
                      United States
                      Member #127445
                      May 1, 2012
                      63 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: September 25, 2012, 2:29 pm - IP Logged

                      I like the years' grace period...strategic planning would allow me to drop out of sight 1 hour after the "reveal".Embarassed

                        gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
                        da bronx,city island,n.y.
                        United States
                        Member #30516
                        January 17, 2006
                        333 Posts
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                        Posted: September 25, 2012, 2:45 pm - IP Logged

                        Hope new york state follews this

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                          Zeta Reticuli Star System
                          United States
                          Member #30470
                          January 17, 2006
                          9123 Posts
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                          Posted: September 25, 2012, 5:25 pm - IP Logged

                          I agree with golfer1960 in their post above. Why one year?

                          People will be waiting like vultures if they have any suspicion they know who the winner was.

                          Anonymous should mean anonymous with no time restriction.

                          If lawyers have to get involved may I once again suggest the JWPP - Jackpot Winners Protection Program - a parallel to the Witness Protection Program format, but the lawyers handle all attempted correspondence and contacts. Everything goes through 'the program' and the winners are 'in defilade'.

                          Wink

                          Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                          Lep

                          There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                            Avatar
                            Kentucky
                            United States
                            Member #32652
                            February 14, 2006
                            5539 Posts
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                            Posted: September 25, 2012, 7:13 pm - IP Logged

                            I agree with golfer1960 in their post above. Why one year?

                            People will be waiting like vultures if they have any suspicion they know who the winner was.

                            Anonymous should mean anonymous with no time restriction.

                            If lawyers have to get involved may I once again suggest the JWPP - Jackpot Winners Protection Program - a parallel to the Witness Protection Program format, but the lawyers handle all attempted correspondence and contacts. Everything goes through 'the program' and the winners are 'in defilade'.

                            Wink

                            "Still, Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), who sponsored the measure, said the information is all available through the Open Public Records Act."

                            Depends on the state laws and this state has Open Public Records statutes. This bill simply closes this public record for one year. I'll bet if you look closely at the fine print on this bill you'll see the anonymity doesn't apply to owing back Federal and state taxes, warrants, court fines, and/or child support.

                            I've noticed that states allowing anonymity like Ohio still publish the name of the store selling the ticket. If you knew the winning ticket was sold at a store near you and noticed your younger neighbor quit their job and bought expensive cars and toys, wouldn't you think that maybe they were the anonymous winner?