A New Hampshire judge has ruled that the winner of a $559.7m Powerball jackpot can remain anonymous. The woman had been seeking to keep her identity secret amid fears for her safety.
The New Hampshire resident won the $560m Powerball jackpot in the draw held on January 6. Known only as ‘Jane Doe,’ she was keen to remain anonymous just like the recent winner of a $3m Australian Powerball prize.
Her problems regarding remaining anonymous began when she signed her name on the back of the winning Powerball ticket. State rules declare that the names of lottery winners must be disclosed to ensure that prizes are distributed fairly and that winners aren’t related to lottery employees.
The Powerball jackpot winner was unaware that if she’d put the name of a trust on her winning ticket then there would have been no problem in maintaining her anonymity. The bid to retain her anonymity led to a delay in claiming her Powerball winnings costing her up to $14,000 daily interest payments. Last week the jackpot winnings were finally claimed by her lawyers after she set up the Good Karma Family Trust of 2018, and her lawyers received $338m after taxes had been paid.
Judge Charles S. Temple of the Hillsborough Superior Court Southern District ruled in the Powerball winners favour, saying that disclosing her name would amount to an invasion of privacy and most likely result in “an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and other unwanted communications.”
The judge did decide that the winner’s hometown, Merrimack in New Hampshire, USA, could be disclosed without fear of her identity being revealed. He dismissed the state’s argument that disclosing her name would show the public that the lottery system is above board. The judge also said that there was no evidence of any corrupt behaviour by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission and the Powerball draw took place in another state.
He added that the commission’s argument that there is a “strong public interest in disclosing the identity” of the winners “is simply not persuasive.”
Billy Shaheen, who is the lawyer representing the Powerball winner, said that his client was elated with the decision. Last week the lucky Powerball player made $50m in donations to charity and plans to make further donations in the future. Canadian Jason Wheeler also made donations to charity after he won $1m playing Lotto 6/49.
The next Powerball draw is on Wednesday with a $420m jackpot… don’t miss this opportunity and purchase your tickets online at Lottery24.com.