$770m New Hampshire lottery winner goes to court to stay anonymous, keep money

A New Hampshire woman is the winner of last months US $560 million Powerball win but wishes to stay anonymous.
A New Hampshire woman is the winner of last months US $560 million Powerball win but wishes to stay anonymous. Photo credit: Getty

All a New Hampshire woman has to do to cash in on a US$560 million (NZ$770 million) lottery win is publicly release her name, but she's refused.

The woman was the winner of last month's US$560 million Powerball - the sixth-largest US Powerball jackpot on record.

The woman has asked a judge to let her keep the money and remain anonymous, NewHampshire.com reports. 

In court documents she stays unidentified as Jane Doe, and has asked she remain forever anonymous, despite New Hampshire Lottery Commission rules requiring a winner sign the back of a winning ticket before being able to claim the prize.

The woman's attorney, Steven Gordon, says she is a long-time resident of New Hampshire and an 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 a billion dollars," he writes in court documents.

Lottery officials say the integrity of the game depends on the public identification of its winners as a protection against fraud. 

But the woman wishes to live "far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery winners", documents say.

Mr Gordon says the woman intends to contribute a portion of her winnings to a charitable foundation.

"She wishes to be a silent witness to these good works."

According to the court filing, the woman went to the lottery's website and read the instructions on the back of her winning ticket. Following the commission's instructions, she printed her name and other information on the back of the ticket, secured it in a safe place and sought an attorney.

She is asking her name, address and other identifying information remain exempt from disclosure, or she be permitted to white out her name, address, phone number and signature from the back of the ticket and replace that information with trust details.

"After completing and signing the ticket, Ms Doe met with counsel and learned for the first time that a trust could sign for and collect the winnings, thus preserving her privacy," says Mr Gordon.

New Hampshire Lottery executive director Charlie McIntyre says he understands winning is a life-changing event but says procedures are in place for the security and the integrity of the game.

A hearing has been set for February 21 to address the woman's request.



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