March 21, 2018

Judge rules victor of $560M Powerball jackpot can stay anonymous

13 March 2018, 06:35 | Opal Carroll

$150000 Powerball ticket sold in New Orleans. Here's where.

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The victor of a US$560 million Powerball jackpot - one of the largest prizes in United States history - can remain anonymous, a New Hampshire judge ruled on Monday.

The lawsuit challenges the New Hampshire Lottery's rule that she must identify herself in order to collect her money.

"While we were expecting a different outcome and believed the State had a strong argument, we respect the court's decision", McIntyre said. The state Attorney General's Office said the woman's name must be revealed because she signed the back of the ticket, USA Today reported.

Judge Charles Temple is presiding over the bid by New Hampshire lotto victor "Jane Doe" to preserve her anonymity in Hillsborough Superior Court.

He sided with the so-called Jane Doe.

The judge wrote that he had "no doubts whatsoever that should Ms. Doe's identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation, and other unwanted communications".

Doe, Temple wrote, has "met her burden" showing her privacy interest outweighs the public's interest in the release of her name.

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The basis for this decision considered a series of reported cases documented in the resolution that showed lottery winners were subject or even targeted by strangers seeking handouts. He cited how a past lottery victor received a bomb threat, how another had received nonstop phone calls and how several others had received requests from strangers who wanted handouts.

Beyond safety concerns, Temple considered Doe's hometown keeping hidden from the public eye.

Temple wrote, "Given that any [female] person in Ms. Doe's hometown could potentially be the victor, it is highly unlikely that Ms. Doe could be identified as the victor exclusively based on the disclosure of that limited piece of information". The firm said she made a "huge mistake" when she signed her real name on the back of the ticket before contacting them.

The victor will collect a lump sum of about $358 million, before subtracting for taxes, according to the New Hampshire Lottery.

The judge also rejected the lottery commission's argument that the woman's name should be revealed to assure the public she was a "bona fide" lottery participant and "real" victor. It matched four of the five numbers in Saturday's drawing, plus the Powerball and it had a Power Play. As part of their bid to keep her name out of the news, Doe's attorneys created a trust to shield her identity and asked the commission not to identify her.

Doe put her name and address on the winning ticket for the Jan 6. draw, but before she sent it to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, she turned to attorneys to see if she could remain anonymous.

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