February 6, 2018

Must a lottery winner reveal her name? A woman who won $560 million is suing to keep her name private.

WaPo reports. You see the conflicting interests here. The woman wants to maintain control of her life, and the government wants to use her identity and smiling giant-check-holding image to promote the lottery.
“She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,” the woman’s attorney, Steven Gordon, wrote in the 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.”

On one side of the case are lottery officials who say the integrity of the games depends on the public identification of its winners as a protection against fraud and malfeasance. A local woman holding up a giant check while cameras flash and reporters scrawl also happens to be a powerful marketing tool.

55 comments:

Nonapod said...

If you win the lottery and want to remain anonymous apparently you can set up a trust and have a trustee sign the ticket? Would that work?

Big Mike said...

I agree with the woman. That a check for s half a billion dollars was handed out should be publicity enough for the lottery.

Kristian Holvoet said...

The fact that they allow a trust to sign the check seems to mean that they do allow for anonymity. They refusal to allow a person to redact a name after signing it is suspect. I get that they don't want to allow a person to modify a ticket, and that the FOI laws may allow the release of the winning ticket, but MUST that FOI require the name of the individual? It seems shady.

On a news site (Fox?) they had a list of many different lottery winners killed. I think there is a valid personal safety reason to remain anonymous.

Francisco D said...

Hire a lawyer AND a financial advisor before you collect your winnings.

I am neither a lawyer nor a financial advisor, but I have slept at a Holiday Inn many times. I offer her my services for a small percentage of her winnings.

J Scott said...

She had already signed the back of the ticket. Had she signed the name of a trust she would have been ok.

Mike Sylwester said...

I rarely buy a lottery ticket.

When I do, I always bet on the combination 1-2-3-4-5 (or however many digits.)

My combination has just as much chance as any other combination.

WK said...

Looks like she didn’t read the rules about disclosing winner’s name and played anyway. Anonymous trust seemed to be an option but she didn’t read the rules on that either. If you don’t like to read the rules. Don’t play. With $500 million I am sure she can buy a new identity.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Nonapod, I think in this case, she signed the ticket.

If I won $560 million, I would not want the world to know about it either. I imagine winners get flooded with hard luck stories from people all over the country, plus everyone they actually know.

David said...

I hope she wins but good luck keeping this secret.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Allowing your name to go public is one of the conditions of playing the lottery.

Don't play if you can't afford to win.

madAsHell said...

Corporations are people. Incorporate!!

madAsHell said...

Stormy Daniels is not her real name. Hire her to accept the check!!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I wonder if she could arrange something where she give the ticket to someone, with a legally binding agreement that they turn in the ticket, get the publicity, and keep 1%, giving her the other 99%, and keeping her anonymous.

Probably not that easy. The person turning in the ticket would have to pay taxes. If they give most of the rest to another person, that probably results in more taxes owed.

Gahrie said...

She should hire a lawyer to redeem the ticket and set up an anonymous trust for her. A signed notarized contract should suffice.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I think that with $560M, she can afford absolutely anything she wants. Like her own mansion on her own Greek island. With a helipad. She needn't stay in New Hampshire and keep doing her grocery shopping.

mockturtle said...

Relatives would be coming out of the woodwork. What a nightmare. One of many reasons I don't play the lottery: I might win. And that's way, way too much. Why can't they pay more people smaller amounts?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Mike Sylwester said...

I rarely buy a lottery ticket.
When I do, I always bet on the combination 1-2-3-4-5 (or however many digits.)
My combination has just as much chance as any other combination.


Bad strategy. Just as likely to win as any other. However, a lot of people like to make patterns with their picks. Therefore, if you win, you are much more likely to have to split your winnings than if you had done a random pick.

I do a random pick, except with at most 1 number in the range of 1-12. Still mostly random, but I won't, by chance, split with someone picking two dates.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

mockturtle said...

Why can't they pay more people smaller amounts?

There are plenty of lotteries with better odds and smaller payouts. Most people choose to play the games with the bigger payout.

eric said...

I've heard you can form a corporation or a trust and have your lawyer accept the check.

But, what the hell?! Who is gonna trust lawyer to go and pick up half a billion for you and not take it for himself?

Robert Cook said...

"I think that with $560M, she can afford absolutely anything she wants. Like her own mansion on her own Greek island. With a helipad. She needn't stay in New Hampshire and keep doing her grocery shopping."

Didn't you read the description? She is an engaged citizen in her community. She doesn't want to leave it, or to have to leave it. She finds meaning in her community and in her friends and activities there.

readering said...

All the wonderful ways to keep lawyers employed.

Fernandistein said...

"She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,"

IOW, laws are for the Little People.

"She wishes to continue this work[sic] 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."

That's an easy problem to solve - give your money to me.

Etienne said...

She's already spending her winning on lawyers. Game, set, match. Lawyers win.

AJ Lynch said...

Mockturtle asked:

"Why can't they pay more people smaller amounts?"

A friend asks this all the time and I reply, if you win, just give big checks to all of your family and friends.

If I ever win a Yuge jackpot, I will divvy it up among 20 or so people.

rhhardin said...

A dollar a year for 560 million years.

exiledonmainstreet said...

On a news site (Fox?) they had a list of many different lottery winners killed. I think there is a valid personal safety reason to remain anonymous.

2/6/18, 1:41 PM

The one I remember was from a few years ago. The man won the lottery and was murdered by his idiot of a wife within days. She's not having much fun with the money since she's in the slammer for life.

Of course, in that case, being anonymous would not have helped the winner. If you've got to worry about your spouse offing you if you win, you've picked the wrong spouse.

AJ Lynch said...

I suspect this lady is a far left librul buttinsky.

rhhardin said...

Buy out-of-the-money futures. The payoff is better.

Edmund said...

I've heard you can form a corporation or a trust and have your lawyer accept the check.

However, in some states (i.e. Texas) the trust owner's identity has to be disclosed.

rhhardin said...

It Could Happen To You (1994)

A police officer without change offers a waitress a half interest in a lottery ticket as a tip.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"I reply, if you win, just give big checks to all of your family and friends."

I have a cousin who would give the money to her only son. I am positive the kid would immediately drop out of college, move to Colorado or California, and remain stoned every waking minute of the day for the rest of his life. He does so now, but things like school and jobs sometimes interfere.

Fernandistein said...

AJ Lynch said...
If I ever win a Yuge jackpot, I will divvy it up among 20 or so people.


I love all your posts! Generous, wise and loving, that's AJ Lynch, and I dare anyone to say otherwise. Especially very generous, did I mention generous?

Etienne said...

America is the home of the brave.

If you are scared, don't leave the house, don't gamble.

Larvell said...

“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.”

Easy -- don't accept the half-billion dollars. And in the future, don't enter contests that will pay you a half-billion dollars on the condition that you let them use your name in marketing. Problem solved.

Fabi said...

She doesn't want her boyfriend to find out.

Larvell said...

"Bad strategy. Just as likely to win as any other. However, a lot of people like to make patterns with their picks. Therefore, if you win, you are much more likely to have to split your winnings than if you had done a random pick."

But the "splitting" problem only arises if 1-2-3-4-5 are the numbers that are actually chosen, and if they are, you would be worse off if you had picked something different.

traditionalguy said...

Did anyone ever watch The Millionaire show. That dad burn wealth ruins lives...ruins them.

But she will take the money, and forever blame the lawyers and the legal system.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Robert Cook,

For a half-billion-plus dollars, I just might consider being an "engaged citizen" in some other community. Preferably one where people don't read the American press.

She needn't drop her friends, you know. Email exists even on Greek islands.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curious George said...

"Robert Cook said...
"I think that with $560M, she can afford absolutely anything she wants. Like her own mansion on her own Greek island. With a helipad. She needn't stay in New Hampshire and keep doing her grocery shopping."

Didn't you read the description? She is an engaged citizen in her community. She doesn't want to leave it, or to have to leave it. She finds meaning in her community and in her friends and activities there."

Incorrect. She says she is an engaged citizen in her community. She says she doesn't want to leave it, or to have to leave it. She says she finds meaning in her community and in her friends and activities there.

Mike Sylwester said...

Did anyone ever watch The Millionaire show?

Yes, I used to watch and enjoy it.

AJ Lynch said...

Ferndndistein- sorry but I already got the names written on a list somewhere and there's no room for more names. Heh.

BUMBLE BEE said...

She risks a lot by staying put. I'd suggest witness protection program but...FBI.

Richard said...

Blogger Mike Sylwester said...
I rarely buy a lottery ticket.

When I do, I always bet on the combination 1-2-3-4-5 (or however many digits.)

Also your luggage combination

Ann Althouse said...

"If you win the lottery and want to remain anonymous apparently you can set up a trust and have a trustee sign the ticket? Would that work?"

You can but if you've already signed the ticked, it's too late. According to the article.

I cannot imagine the anxiety you'd feel if you suddenly knew you had a piece of paper worth half a billion dollars. The feeling that you'd better get your name on it would be very strong. How would an ordinary lottery ticket buyer get to sound legal advice before signing the ticket? It's unlikely. The lawyer is trying to help her now, but I can understand the state fretting that the rule must be followed consistently. But the woman does face great risks and ought to be protected.

Darrell said...

The State wants assholes to come out of the woodwork to make your life a living Hell. Perhaps even kidnap your love ones for ransom. If I said my name is Joe Bavatz, why should the State care? Bastards. That's why people incorporate and claim as XYZ Corp.

Illinois has solved the problem by not paying winners.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Whitey Bulger was publicly named a lottery winner here in Massachusetts in 1991. The circumstances made it rather obvious that he had purchased/extorted a partial interest in a $14 million winning ticket under the table as part of a money laundering scheme. He didn't go on the lam until 1994, but arguably the public notoriety of that lottery payout forced the authorities to investigate him. Southie was gossiping that Whitey had fixed the lottery, so the integrity of the lottery was called into question. Nonetheless, his corrupt FBI handler tipped him off and he made a clean getaway.

The Godfather said...

Ms. X is faced with the question: How much is your privacy worth? Half a Bil? Really?

Anonymous said...

1: The State has an entirely legitimate need to prove that the Lottery is legit. Which means naming winners, so people can be confident they're not "insiders"

2: Pretty sure every lottery ticket includes a waiver by you saying that if you win, they can use you in their advertising

If you don't want to be used in the advertising, don't buy a lottery ticket.

Robert Cook said...

By the way, if she won $560 million, she'll probably receive about half of that.

LilyBart said...

I thought the Supreme Court ruled we have a "right to privacy".

iowan2 said...

We know in at least one big case, requiring the rule for making the winner public, was a way to reveal fraud.
A lawyer came forward the day before the winning ticket expired to claim the prize for his client. Hilarity ensued. The lottery held firm and refused, the winner was forced to fly into Iowa from NYC to claim his winnings. The problem was, the winner was an employee of the lottery.
The end game? The employee had rigged this lottery and several others. With annonymity, the fraud may have never come out.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2015/10/09/convicted-hot-lotto-rigger-facing-new-felony-charge/73645772/

John Lynch said...

Don't buy a lottery ticket. You might win.

Anonymous said...

This post is really a lesson for the guys out there. A woman wins more than a half-billion dollars, before taxes, and is unhappy.