Powerball winner of $560m fighting in court to remain anonymous

New Hampshire woman says she made a 'huge mistake' by signing the ticket

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 06 February 2018 16:21 GMT
Under New Hampshire state law, a lottery winner's name, town and prize amount are public information
Under New Hampshire state law, a lottery winner's name, town and prize amount are public information (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The winner of a $600m (£400m) Powerball ticket in America has gone to court in a bid to protect her anonymity.

The New Hampshire woman, identified as Jane Doe, said she made a “huge mistake” by signing the winning ticket without consulting a lawyer.

Under the state’s law, a lottery winner’s name, town and prize amount are public information.

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Last week, the woman filed a complaint in Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua saying she signed the back of the ticket after the 6 January draw and now wants a court order allowing her to stay anonymous.

After she contacted her lawyer, she learned she could have protected her identity by instead writing the name of a trust.

The woman showed lottery officials a photocopy of the front of her ticket, who said they would be compelled to disclose her identity if someone filed a Right to Know request.

Her lawyers argue her privacy interest outweighs the insignificant public interest in disclosing her name.

“While we respect this player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols,” Charlie McIntyre, the executive director of New Hampshire Lottery, said in a statement.

Lottery officials consulted with state lawyers and said they must process the winning ticket “like any other,” he added.

The woman described herself as a life-long New Hampshire resident and “engaged community member.”

“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,” the complaint said.

“She wishes to remain in New Hampshire and give back to the state and community that has given so much to her.”

The filing says she has set up a trust and plans to contribute a portion of her winnings to charity.

William Shaheen, whose law firm is representing the woman, had written a blog post shortly after the drawing urging the winner not to sign the ticket immediately because of the confidentiality rules.

New Hampshire is one a handful of states allowing trusts to anonymously claim lottery prizes.

In 2016, a New Hampshire family that won a $487m (£35m) Powerball jackpot remained anonymous as lawyers for their trust claimed it.

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