Photo: g-stockstudio (Getty)
While I completely get not wanting to reveal your identity once you win a huge amount of money, I also don’t get not accepting that huge amount of cash mainly based on the fact that I don’t want people to know who I am. With that said, one woman is refusing to accept her huge lottery winnings unless she’s completely autonomous.
A New Hampshire woman recently won $560 million Powerball, making her the world’s newest owner of a nine-digit bank account. But because of lottery rules, everyone has to know her name: her friends, her family, ex-lovers, her mailman and all her enemies. So yeah, the unidentified woman is not about this life, so she has asked a judge to not only let her keep her massive winnings, but to let her remain anonymous.
“She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,” the woman’s attorney, Steven Gordon, wrote in the court documents. “She wishes to continue this work and the freedom to walk into a grocery store or attend public events without being known or targeted as the winner of a half-billion dollars.”
On one side of the case are lottery officials who say the integrity of the games depends on the public identification of its winners as a protection against fraud and malfeasance. A local woman holding up a giant check while cameras flash and reporters scrawl also happens to be a powerful marketing tool.
On the other side is a woman suddenly faced with a life-changing stroke of luck who, court documents say, wishes to live “far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery winners.”
But unfortunately for this mysterious woman, the law may not be on your her team. According to New Hampshire lotto rules, the winner’s name, town and amount won has to be available for public information, in accordance with open-records laws. The state allows people to form an anonymous trust, but it’s a moot point for the woman as she’d already signed her name and altering the signature would nullify the ticket.
And it’s still not looking good: Here’s what New Hampshire lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre had to say:
“The New Hampshire Lottery understands that winning a $560 million Powerball jackpot is a life-changing occurrence. Having awarded numerous Powerball jackpots over the years, we also understand that the procedures in place for prize claimants are critically important for the security and integrity of the lottery, our players and our games. While we respect this player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols.”
In other words, this poor lady has to reveal her identity so that local thieves and murderers can know who their next target is. Good going, New Hampshire. I completely don’t agree with this at all. Hell, I once won $10 in a scratch-off ticket and kept tight-lipped for months.