A New Hampshire resident is refusing to collect her lottery winnings unless she is allowed to remain anonymous.
The woman in question became the winner of a $559.7 million Powerball jackpot in January.
Currently, New Hampshire state law mandates open records for lottery winners, requiring that they “publicly disclose their name, town and amount won,” according to Fox News.
“While we respect this player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols,” New Hampshire lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre said in a statement to Fox.
New Hampshire is actually one of several states that permits lottery recipients to form anonymous trusts in an effort to hide their identities and protect their personal fortunes.
However, the Powerball winner already signed her name on the ticket. As the law currently stands, if the woman were to alter her signature in an attempt to conceal her identity, it would void her ticket.
Currently, the winner is refusing to claim her prize. Instead, she’s taking the matter to court.
In court documents filed in Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua, the woman asserted that choosing to write down her name was a “huge mistake,” the result of misunderstanding the rules as described on the lottery website.
Her attorney says that making his client choose between receiving her payout and protecting her anonymity is “legally impermissible.”
“She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,” the lawyer wrote in 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.”
The New Hampshire lottery winner’s concerns are not unwarranted. Becoming publicly known has been the source of troubles for many past lottery recipients.
According to the New York Daily News, an Illinois lottery winner was poisoned after winning $1 million from a scratch-off ticket. The deceased man widow and daughter from a previous marriage eventually ended up splitting the winnings, according to the 2013 report.
Another report from the the Daily News chonicled the misfortunes of other lottery winners, some of whom either became the victims of murder, or succumbed to drug and alcohol problems.
Among those noted are Abraham Shakespeare and Jeffrey Dampier.
Shakespeare — who won $30 million in 2006 — went missing in 2009 after transferring his assets to a friend in an effort to protect himself from other people looking to gain access to his funds.
The friend in question, Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore, tricked Shakespeare into thinking she would help protect him. Three years after Shakespeare went missing, Moore was convicted of his murder, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In the case of Dampier, the winner of a $20 million jackpot was kidnapped and shot in the back of his head by his sister-in-law, Victoria Jackson, and her boyfriend. He ended up dying, just several years after winning the lottery.
Both Jackson and her boyfriend were sentenced to life in prison for the murder.
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