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More lottery winners using trusts to accept prizes anonymously

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: More lottery winners using trusts to accept prizes anonymously
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BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — A $1 million scratch ticket was recently sold in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, but despite regulations requiring the Massachusetts State Lottery to disclose big winners we may never know who purchased the winning ticket.

In a picture published on the Lottery's website announcing the winning, it is not the winner accepting the prize money. Instead, it is Brady McDevitt, an attorney and the trustee of The Apple Nominee Trust of Milton.

McDevitt was able to accept the check as a trustee on the winner's behalf because the winner decided to go the increasingly popular route of forming a trust to claim their prize.

Although Lottery regulations state that a claimant's name, city or town, image, amount of prize, claim date and game are all public record, trusts have become a common tool for winners to skirt the rules and remain their anonymity when claiming a big prize.

"Trusts and other legal entities fulfill the definition of a legal person," said Christian Teja, the director of communications for the Massachusetts Lottery. "Consequently trusts are allowed to claim Lottery prizes."

The rules requiring the public disclosure of Lottery players who win big money were originally put in place to promote transparency and create confidence that the games are being run fairly and winnings aren't going to Lottery employees who are barred from playing.

"The reason they have that rule is so the public knows that there is not some fraudulent scheme going on where people in the Lottery or a certain group of people are always winning like it's a scam," McDevitt said.

McDevitt, who has accepted two $1 million prizes this month as a trustee of the behalf of clients who set up trusts to collect their winnings, said that legal entities like corporations or LLCs — limited liability companies — can also be used to collect prizes, but trusts are the most popular choice because they are the easiest to set up.

"You have a little more freedom and you don't have to file anything or have any filing fees with the state," McDevitt said, adding that a trust can be set up in matter of days.

Teja said that typically less than 10 people will use a trust to claim their prize every year, but that the number has been inching up in recent years.

So far in 2015, 12 trusts have accepted a total of $32 million on behalf of Lottery winners. There have been more than 150 $1 million Lottery winners to date this year.

Teja said that trusts can be set up by winners for a variety of reasons, including for financial planning purposes or legal protection if a person is sharing the winnings with other people. However, the most popular reason appears to be so that people can maintain their anonymity.

"The main reason my clients have done it have not been financial planning reasons. It has just been so they don't have to have their picture taken or have any publicity with it," said McDevitt

Many Lottery winners who seek anonymity after winning a big prize due so out of safety concerns.

"One of the clients I have done it for had won (the Lottery) previously, and it had gotten to the point where she had to call the police because someone was stalking her," McDevitt said.

During her campaign in 2014, Treasurer Deb Goldberg weighed in on whether she thought winners should be able to accept the prize via trust, and argued that even if a trust is used the identity of the winner should be made public.

However, neither the Lottery nor the Legislature have moved to make the issue more transparent, and one legislator has even filed legislation that would make it even more difficult for the public to find out who won a big prize.

In April, state Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, filed a bill that would no longer make the identity of Lottery winners public record if passed.

The bill states in part "the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission shall not publicly disclose the name, address or other identifying information of any holder of a winning ticket or require any winning ticket holder to perform any public actions in connection with the awarding, payment or collection of prize moneys where a holder of a winning ticket provides a written request to the Commission."

The Enterprise, Lottery Post Staff

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69 comments. Last comment 11 months ago by OneTrickpony.
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MaximumMillions's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg

Germany
Member #164603
March 8, 2015
599 Posts
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Posted: November 29, 2015, 8:42 pm - IP Logged

I do wonder why this is legal/possible in Massachusetts but not in other state, at least not to this extent.

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    Left Coast
    United States
    Member #122298
    January 28, 2012
    125 Posts
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    Posted: November 29, 2015, 9:12 pm - IP Logged

    I do wonder why this is legal/possible in Massachusetts but not in other state, at least not to this extent.

    If I recall correctly, Ohio and Delaware are two of a handful of states at one end, and New York and Virginia are at the other end... And in my opinion, all the states in between are different shades of anonymity that an experienced lawyer can try to navigate. 

    And it always brings up the question, do I sign the ticket and then get a notery to help re-sign the ticket and transfer ownership to an entity or what?

    And to quote a presidential candidate from for years ago, "corporations are people."

      Avatar
      New Member
      northern fl
      United States
      Member #161495
      December 1, 2014
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      Posted: November 29, 2015, 9:14 pm - IP Logged

      I do wonder why this is legal/possible in Massachusetts but not in other state, at least not to this extent.

      If you are actually from Germany, It is understandable not to know the body of laws that we place upon ourselves. Massachusetts have in this matter their own laws. The federal government allows the states to govern their citizens. It is a lot more complicated but in this matter even though it is a lottery that is played almost in all states, but the reporting and governing of the lottery is up to the state

        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
        Bay Area - California
        United States
        Member #136477
        December 12, 2012
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        Posted: November 29, 2015, 10:41 pm - IP Logged

        Every lottery winner should have the option of collecting their winnings through a Trust and not being told that if they do, they will be exposed as a winner nonetheless. It should be up to the winner to make the decision as to whether they want to go before the cameras or not. These State lottery commissions do not interview  folks who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars playing the lottery - why should they want to interview you when you win? It should be your call, your money, your win, your choice.

        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

          pantherestates's avatar - Lottery-061.jpg
          sherman oaks
          United States
          Member #157425
          July 18, 2014
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          Posted: November 29, 2015, 10:53 pm - IP Logged

          I think that it is dreadful that a individual who wins the lottery that it is made public record.it is like pulling a sign around ones neck that says ROB ME PLEASE!!! it is wrong and I would definitely set up a trust way before the ticket was claimed...I don't want anybody to know if I win accept the person who sets up my trust and a lawyer.

          I'M A WINNER!!!!!!!!Drum

            lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

            United States
            Member #118609
            November 4, 2011
            931 Posts
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            Posted: November 29, 2015, 11:25 pm - IP Logged

            Trust is the only way to go.  In fact make it a duo.

              Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

              United States
              Member #142499
              May 13, 2013
              1182 Posts
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              Posted: November 30, 2015, 12:54 am - IP Logged

              A few months ago, when a poster started a thread about the importance of pushing all the states to allow for claims to be made anonymously, one respondent wrote that there has been no evidence that any lottery winner has been actually put in harms way due to strangers knowing about a lottery winner. That the only people who have suffered have done so at the hands of friends and relatives. They didn't view kidnapping and death threats a big enough factor since it was only threats, not an overt action. 

              Well, hopefully gaining a stalker is enough of a detriment that they can see the importance of anonymity. Hopefully they don't need something more overt, like an actual kidnapping or murder to see publicizing a lottery winner's information brings with it a detriment that outweighs the need for "transparency". Especially since a lack of transparency has had no negative effect on the lottery in the states which allow for anonymity.

              I might wake up early and go running.  I might also wake up and win the lottery.

              The odds are about the same.

                R151413's avatar - Lottery-015.jpg
                Fort Smith AR
                United States
                Member #169664
                October 27, 2015
                58 Posts
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                Posted: November 30, 2015, 1:20 am - IP Logged

                People who donate large sums of money to various entities/charities etc can do so anonymously. So, I think a lottery winner should have the same option.

                  Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                  United States
                  Member #142499
                  May 13, 2013
                  1182 Posts
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                  Posted: November 30, 2015, 2:09 am - IP Logged

                  Does anyone know if a person can claim via trust in GA? Says nothing on their website about it either way.

                  I might wake up early and go running.  I might also wake up and win the lottery.

                  The odds are about the same.

                    Avatar
                    New Member
                    Westminster, CA
                    United States
                    Member #170407
                    November 30, 2015
                    1 Posts
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                    Posted: November 30, 2015, 3:01 am - IP Logged

                    Hi there,

                     

                    everyone I am new to this website so I figure I hello to everyone : ).  If I win a big lottery I would definitely claim as a trusts as well to protect myself and love one.  And also I have question that I want to ask that I couldn't find yet on this website.  I know that you can buy lottery from other countries but can you claim the prize if and that is a huge if you win the jackpot.

                     

                    Hopefully the jackpot goes back up to $300+ million dollars soon.  And Good luck everyone and thank you for answering my question in advance.

                      maximumfun's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg
                      Lavender Rocket

                      United States
                      Member #124616
                      March 16, 2012
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                      Posted: November 30, 2015, 3:23 am - IP Logged

                      First and most importantly:  welcome Lexuslfa!

                      as far as claiming lottery wins via trusts in mass - its nice that Mass allows this - and fascinating that RI is almost polar opposite in views re:  let everyone know everything as long as its not about ... whomever is in power.


                        United States
                        Member #163335
                        January 27, 2015
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                        Posted: November 30, 2015, 5:33 am - IP Logged

                        They tried to pass legislation earlier this year in Michigan to allow lottery winners to remain anonymous but it has stalled out in the senate.  Boo Hiss!

                        HB 4433, Michigan: Gaming; Lottery; Multistate Lottery Games; Allow Winner to remain anonymous. Amends Sec. 25 of 1972 PA 239 (MCL 432.25).

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                          Simpsonville
                          United States
                          Member #163189
                          January 22, 2015
                          667 Posts
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                          Posted: November 30, 2015, 6:26 am - IP Logged

                          A few months ago, when a poster started a thread about the importance of pushing all the states to allow for claims to be made anonymously, one respondent wrote that there has been no evidence that any lottery winner has been actually put in harms way due to strangers knowing about a lottery winner. That the only people who have suffered have done so at the hands of friends and relatives. They didn't view kidnapping and death threats a big enough factor since it was only threats, not an overt action. 

                          Well, hopefully gaining a stalker is enough of a detriment that they can see the importance of anonymity. Hopefully they don't need something more overt, like an actual kidnapping or murder to see publicizing a lottery winner's information brings with it a detriment that outweighs the need for "transparency". Especially since a lack of transparency has had no negative effect on the lottery in the states which allow for anonymity.

                          No harm done?  What about that poor transplanted Chicagoan who was a lottery winner and buried in concrete in his Florida driveway?  Maybe he was functionally illiterate and that 'woman' took advantage of this fact and took him to the double C's:  Cleaners and Cemetery.  Awful.

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                            Simpsonville
                            United States
                            Member #163189
                            January 22, 2015
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                            Posted: November 30, 2015, 6:44 am - IP Logged

                            Vaguely I remember the Courier-Journal, Louisville KY newspaper outed a lottery winner who claimed his winnings anonymously.  They went through the Freedom of Information Act.  Best to my recollection he did not have a Trust.  My point is can folks use the FOIA to find out anonymous lottery winners?  Personally I don't care, more power to the winners.