A dispute has broken out in the United States after a jackpot prize winner filed a court order AGAINST the lottery company she bought the winning ticket from.
The New Hampshire woman, referred to under the pseudonym of Jane Doe in court, won the $560 million Powerball jackpot prize last month. Despite this, she’s still yet to claim the prize over fears for her future privacy.
That’s because under New Hampshire Lottery Commission rules, the name, town and winnings of any jackpot claimant are to be made public information. The Commission’s rules also state that any winner must sign the back of a winning ticket before being able to claim the prize. As Doe did just that, the commission believes they’re well within their rights to enforce the ruling.
In courts files released by her legal counsel at Hillsborough County Superior Court South, Doe described signing the ticket in her name as a “huge mistake”. She later learned that if she had chosen to sign the ticket in the name of a trust, she could have maintained her anonymity.
The court filing went onto state how Doe had gone onto the lottery’s website after realising she had won to try and find out the next steps to be able to claim her prize. After reading the instructions, Doe signed her name on the ticket and hired the services of an attorney.
Doe’s attorney requested that lottery officials allow her to either “white out” her name and replace it with the name of a trust or keep to her name, address and other identifying information private.
“She is a long-time resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,” her attorney, Steven Gordon 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.”
In response to the claim, New Hampshire’s Lottery Executive Director, Charlie McIntyre, said:
“While we respect this player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols.”
A hearing has been set for the 21st of February to assess Doe’s request. If she is unsuccessful, Doe still has a year from the date of the lottery draw to decide if she wants to claim the prize.
It’s been estimated that Doe is missing out on around $50,000 in interest a day by leaving her ticket unclaimed.
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