Last month, a New Hampshire woman won the $560 million Powerball lottery, and while she could be planning her post-lottery vacation and making moves to buy a new mansion, she is unable to collect her winnings because she won’t reveal her name. She recently took her decision to remain anonymous to court.
The matter is complicated because she could have signed the money over to an unnamed trust if she hadn’t already signed the back of the winning ticket with her real name. The winner didn’t know at the time that she could sign the ticket with the name of a trust. On February 13th, the anonymous winner — known only as “Jane Doe” — and her lawyer went to a Superior Court judge to ask for a narrow ruling that would allow her to keep the earnings without revealing her identity.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, The Lottery Commission’s argument against Jane Doe is that if they allowed winners to remain anonymous the public would not be able to determine if a lotto winner is associated with the state or with the lottery. Winner transparency is the key to the success of the lottery.
Jane Doe’s attorney says that she’s losing about $14,000 a day in interest each day that she can’t claim her prize. Not including whatever losses she might suffer as her prize waits in limbo, it’s estimated that her cash prize, after taxes, is roughly $268 million on the $560 million Powerball lottery.
Winning the lottery has become a nightmare for many former winners. Besides random relatives coming out of the woodwork asking for a handout, past lotto winners have been conned, robbed, and killed because of their lotto earnings. We don’t blame this anonymous New Hampshire woman for trying to keep her identity a secret.
The judge is expected to make a ruling in the near future.