The mysterious winner of a $560 million lottery ticket who fought to keep her identity a secret is allowed to stay anonymous, a judge ruled on Monday.
Not much is known about the southern New Hampshire woman, who won the Powerball jackpot in January and asked a judge to let her stay out of the public eye. The judge last week ruled that the woman could claim her prize money while he considered whether her privacy interests outweighed the state’s lottery rules.
William Shaheen, a lawyer for the woman, had accepted a check for a lump sum of $352 million, about $264 million after taxes, reports said. The first thing he did was give a total of about $249,000 to a couple of nonprofits – Girls Inc. and three chapters of End 68 Hours of Hunger – and said the woman plans to give away as much as $50 million in the future.
Judge Charles Temple on Monday granted the woman anonymity and ruled that revealing her name would be an invasion of privacy, in part because lottery winners in general are subject to “repeated solicitation, harassment, and even violence,” Temple wrote in his 16-page resolution. He cited how a past lottery winner received a bomb threat, how another had received nonstop phone calls and how several others had received requests from strangers who wanted handouts.
“The Court therefore has no difficulty finding that [the woman] would also be subject to similar solicitation and harassment if her identity were disclosed,” Temple wrote.
He did rule, however, that the woman’s hometown can be publicly released, as it was “highly unlikely” that the woman could be identified as the winner solely based on her hometown.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Marwa Eltagouri, Eli Rosenberg, Cleve R. Wootson Jr.