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Court hears arguments on $559M lottery winner's plea to remain anonymous

Feb 14, 2018, 9:55 am

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PowerballPowerball: Court hears arguments on $559M lottery winner's plea to remain anonymousRating:

NASHUA, N.H. — The mystery woman in possession of the winning $560 million Powerball ticket purchased last month in Merrimack, New Hampshire, is highly stressed and is preparing to have security guards in place should her name be revealed, according to her lawyers.

"She doesn't want to be a celebrity," said William Shaheen of Shaheen and Gordon law firm. Shaheen said his client, who has filed a lawsuit against the New Hampshire Lottery Commission seeking to keep her identity a secret even though she signed the back of the winning ticket, is entitled to her money and has already created The Good Karma Family Trust of 2018.

The problem, however, is that she signed the back of the ticket, which is now a public document, argues Assistant Attorney General John Conforti.

"When you win this kind of money, you realize you have responsibilities. A lot of people think it is just glitter -- there is a lot of stress involved," said Shaheen.

He said the winner is prepared if the judge does not rule in her favor and orders that the back of the ticket with her signature becomes public. According to Shaheen, security guards are queued and ready to begin duty if she loses her court case.

"You have to understand, this ticket is the most valuable piece of paper on the planet Earth," said Charles McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

McIntyre said the commission does want to work with the winner and is prepared to allow the funds to be assigned to a trust and transferred. It will be up to the court to decide whether the ticket with the winner's signature becomes public under several Right-to-Know requests already received by the commission.

"She has unlimited choices in life now," McIntyre said of the woman, adding the winner must first learn how to say 'No.'

He also suggested that if Judge Charles Temple dismisses the lawsuit as requested by the commission and the woman's name does become public that she hold a press conference to answer questions from the media.

He stressed that the $560 million prize is the public's money that has been collected from 45 other jurisdictions around the nation.

"It is our biggest win ever," he said of New Hampshire, adding that while he is not downplaying the woman's desire for privacy, she now has no financial worries — ever.

Attorneys for both sides argued the merits of the case on Tuesday at Hillsborough County Superior Court; the winner was not present in the courtroom.

"We come to the court today in a Catch 22, not in our own making," said attorney Steven Gordon, representing the winner. He said his client followed the commission's instructions and signed her name and hometown on the ticket, essentially losing her right to anonymity, which could have been avoided if she had first assigned it to a trust.

Now, the woman known in court records as Jane Doe wants to cash in her ticket, he said, adding the ticket and the prize sits in limbo pending a court ruling on whether she can keep her identity private.

Gordon maintains that if her name is revealed, she could be subject to harassment, annoyance and possibly threats or violence.

"The lottery thrives on transparency," argued Conforti. He said taxpayers need to know that the commission is running the games in an appropriate manner with integrity and fairness.

The ticket is a public document, and the commission believes that it is best to be transparent with the lottery process so that the public can see that winners are not connected to the lottery or the state, or that winners are not in clusters or related, according to Conforti.

"We have a substantial public interest in disclosure of those public documents," he said, adding Doe is asking for a substantial extension of privacy protection under the state's Right-to-Know law.

(See NH Lottery Commission wants Powerball winner's lawsuit dismissed, citing Right-to-Know Law, Lottery Post, Feb. 13, 2018.)

Still, Gordon argued that the commission has nothing to do with the Powerball game, explaining that it is handled by the Multi-State Lottery Association, and that disclosure of her identity will reveal nothing about the commission's activities.

Union Leader

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81 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by jacintasc.
Page 1 of 6
Avatar
Chasing $ Millions.
White Shores- California
United States
Member #136473
December 12, 2012
6313 Posts
Offline

The more l read about this case, the more l see it as a circus. Stress? Is that a freaking joke or what! Millions of players have lost boatloads of money over the decades hoping to win any jackpot. Players have quit the game for good because of continued disappointment, and her lawyer is talking about Stress? Classic BS

 * Voice of Reason *   

 

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

    Avatar
    Simpsonville
    United States
    Member #163184
    January 22, 2015
    2256 Posts
    Offline

    The more l read about this case, the more l see it as a circus. Stress? Is that a freaking joke or what! Millions of players have lost boatloads of money over the decades hoping to win any jackpot. Players have quit the game for good because of continued disappointment, and her lawyer is talking about Stress? Classic BS

    Please Judge, dismiss this without prejudice.  It is getting old and now the vultures have really been keeping a keen eye on this case.

      CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
      Central TN
      United States
      Member #121189
      January 4, 2012
      4743 Posts
      Offline

      Tough call (imho). I more than understand the rules and they are crystal clear on making the claim.

      For her personal safety, I am all for that 110%.

      I believe ,like all of us, we have heard "sign the back of your ticket" for years and years. Those of us that post on here, know undoubtedly, that with this massive win requires discretion, professional legal guidance and sound decision making prior to making the claim.

      I was a bit curious about safety tips that the lottery posts on the TEXAS state website, so I went and took a gander:

      www.txlottery.org/export/sites/lottery/Winners/Player_Protection/Security_Spotlight/index.html

      The third line down says, " Sign your tickets upon receipt"

      So then being a bit more curious I went to the FAQ section and here is what is posted there:

      www.txlottery.org/export/sites/lottery/FAQ/index.html

      WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I PURCHASE MY TICKETS ?

      ANS: "Check your ticket(s) upon receipt to ensure they are correct and they are the ticket(s) you intended to purchase. Sign Your Ticket upon receipt" <-- Notice the caps on sign your ticket

      There was an informative reply in the question of 

      If I join a group of players, can more than one person claim a prize on the same ticket

      No. The Texas Lottery Commission will pay only one claimant per ticket. A “claimant” can be an individual, a trust, a partnership, a corporation, or any other legal entity. The way in which you claim a prize cannot be changed after the ticket is validated and the prize is paid; therefore, careful consideration and professional advice, including but not limited to legal or financial advice, is recommended before the prize is claimed, especially for larger prizes or those prizes that are paid by installments. If you choose to claim the prize as a trust, partnership, or other legal entity, the legal documents that create the legal entity must be submitted for review to the Texas Lottery's Legal Services Division before claiming your prize. This is required to ensure the documents comply with the State Lottery Act and the Commission’s administrative rules. If you claim your prize as any entity other than an individual, a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is required.

      Notice the difference between "sign your ticket upon receipt" and "careful consideration..legal or financial advice is recommended..  I know they are in 2 separate questions but some of the longer statement could apply to the what I do when I purchase my tickets.

       

      In closing, while I understand her requests for privacy and possible misunderstanding of rules. She didn't complete a full research of the legal options available and she will have to endure public scrutiny, I believe. 

      Thank goodness Texas allows us to claim anonymous on prizes of $1 Million or more   Thumbs Up

      Just my 2 pennies worth on this article as written.

      Integrity: There is just no substitute.

        rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
        Texas
        United States
        Member #55887
        October 23, 2007
        10353 Posts
        Offline

        If she had just claimed her money it would be done with. Who remembers past jackpot winners? Frankly, most winners that had bad things happen to them was the result of already hanging around bad characters, or blabbing themselves of winning a jackpot.

        I find it kind of funny that the more she fights this, the more notoriety she's bringing on herself, especially if she loses the case.

        CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

        A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

          NJJim's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
          Bergen County NJ
          United States
          Member #104845
          January 21, 2011
          482 Posts
          Offline

          Unfortunately, the publicity of this case has dropped so many hints as to who is person is, you could probably just go local and ask the average citizen.  "A person active in the community"... come on! Nice to fight for your rights, but know when the fight is over.  Yes, you will have to move, or shore up your security for yourself and your family.  Every person that has become wealthy the old fashion way has had to do that.   The lottery folks will drag this on because its not their personal money, and they'll have to face the legal action that might come their way by previous winners that had to disclose.  I often wonder how I would react, where I would live, how I would fend off even the close relatives and friends.  But I never considered refusing to take the cash! take the cash!

          Seems so simple: three digits, 168 to one odds when boxed... all you have to do is pick the right ones!

            Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
            100
            Zeta Reticuli Star System
            United States
            Member #30469
            January 17, 2006
            11497 Posts
            Offline

            Maybe she is the real "Steve Player.'......

            Green laugh

            Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

            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.

              music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
              USN United States Navy
              Fresno, California
              United States
              Member #157851
              August 2, 2014
              3959 Posts
              Offline

              I Agree! CDanaT,  She should have known the rules before playing. Each State is different.

               Texas is now the seventh State to allow winners anonymity. Congratulations to Texas Lottery Players!

              music* 

               "We are all in this together!" 

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #170703
                December 13, 2015
                202 Posts
                Offline

                I Agree! CDanaT,  She should have known the rules before playing. Each State is different.

                 Texas is now the seventh State to allow winners anonymity. Congratulations to Texas Lottery Players!

                music* 

                I've never heard of this? If true I think it's great. But when did  become state law?

                  Tony Numbers's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg
                  Bronx ny
                  United States
                  Member #158512
                  August 25, 2014
                  446 Posts
                  Offline

                  I'll claim the ticket for her for a ten percent commission.

                    music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                    USN United States Navy
                    Fresno, California
                    United States
                    Member #157851
                    August 2, 2014
                    3959 Posts
                    Offline

                    I've never heard of this? If true I think it's great. But when did  become state law?

                    jacintasc, I have heard this since January 1, 2018. Winners of more than a million dollars may claim anonymously.  You could probably find more if you search Texas Lottery.com or such sites.

                    I am here in Fresno, CA but have lottery players in Texas who have told me this.

                    music*

                     "We are all in this together!" 

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #163990
                      February 15, 2015
                      97 Posts
                      Offline

                      With all this excessive commotion she has guaranteed herself more attention.  And with that attention will come more of the bad elements of shady characters and scam artists who deliberately hunt down lottery winners.  What a mess this has devolved into....

                       

                      Surrender 

                        Avatar
                        Simpsonville
                        United States
                        Member #163184
                        January 22, 2015
                        2256 Posts
                        Offline

                        With all this excessive commotion she has guaranteed herself more attention.  And with that attention will come more of the bad elements of shady characters and scam artists who deliberately hunt down lottery winners.  What a mess this has devolved into....

                         

                        Surrender 

                        My point exactly.  Take a look @ the TV shows 'Lottery changed my life' and the other one 'Lottery dream home' or something like that.  We've never heard any harm coming to those folks, though I don't think they're wise having their first and last names splattered on the oversize check.  In retrospect the shows could have blurred or whited out the last names.

                          Avatar

                          United States
                          Member #163990
                          February 15, 2015
                          97 Posts
                          Offline

                          I just checked the population number for the town she lives in.  As of 2010 the population was 25,494 people.  That's a small town and soon everyone will know who she is.  You can't hide in small towns very well.   Perhaps she should buy the entire block she lives on and then build a wall around it....(grin).  Or, move to Mayberry where sheriff Andy Taylor and Barney Fife hang out....

                          LOL

                            Avatar
                            New Member

                            United States
                            Member #177108
                            September 9, 2016
                            17 Posts
                            Offline

                            Please Judge, dismiss this without prejudice.  It is getting old and now the vultures have really been keeping a keen eye on this case.

                            I have to ask....have you won a large jackpot or maybe worked for a State Lottery?  If you have then you do know her concerns a valid.  It seems that by following advice she shot herself in the foot by signing the ticket.  I have been involved with a HUGE win and the vultures are indeed circling.