Powerball winner fights to stay anonymous while collecting $560 million jackpot
A New Hampshire Powerball winner is fighting to stay anonymous while collecting her $560 million jackpot while her lawsuit plays out in court.
Lawyers representing the winner filed a motion in New Hampshire Superior Court seeking to allow her to start collecting even before her lawsuit is resolved.
Her lawyer, William Shaheen, said on Wednesday she could start receiving her winnings as early as next week.
“There really isn’t any justification to hold up the money,” said Shaheen. “She is the winner and we have the winning ticket.”
But the dispersal of lottery winnings really depends on the Attorney General, who is reviewing the motion, and the judge, who took the motion under advisement, according to Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery.
“With Jane Doe, we are working to make this happen so that she may begin to enjoy her Powerball win,” said McIntyre, in a statement to CNNMoney.
Assistant Attorney General John Conforti told CNNMoney, “We’re inclined to assent to that motion, but we haven’t filed a response yet.”
The lottery winner filed a lawsuit in New Hampshire Superior Court earlier this month under the name of Jane Doe. The lawsuit challenges the New Hampshire Lottery’s rule that she has to identify herself in order to collect the money.
The lawsuit claims that “such disclosure would constitute a significant invasion of her privacy.” It said previous winners have been “victims of violence, threats, harassment, scams and unwanted solicitation.”
Shaheen said that he’s been appointed as Jane Doe’s trustee, and that he plans to redeem the ticket at the New Hampshire Lottery office on Monday or Tuesday. He said the money should start flowing a couple days later, in the form of wire transfers in $50 million increments.
“As long as the money starts getting transferred, it takes a lot of pressure of everyone, because that’s the heart and soul of it,” said Shaheen.
He said she plans to take a lump sum. According to the New Hampshire Lottery, a lump sum from the $560 million would be about $358 million, without subtracting for taxes.
The lottery instructions say that winners should sign their winning tickets immediately. The lawsuit states that the winner didn’t realize, upon discovering that she had a winning ticket, that she could have placed it in the care of trustee without surrendering her identity.
“‘She has described this signing as a ‘huge mistake,'” the lawsuit says.
“Our position is that she entitled to place this money in trust and she is entitled to not have her name released to the public,” said Shaheen. “She didn’t have benefit of counsel and she was petrified of how much money she won.”
The winning ticket was purchased on Jan. 6 at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack near Nashua. Sam Safa, the owner of the store, told CNNMoney that he won $75,000 before taxes because his store sold her the ticket.
He said that he’s enjoyed a boost in his business from all the attention, but he’s also received a lot of “nonsense calls” from people asking for money, so he understands why the jackpot winner wants to stay anonymous.