New Hampshire Lottery Commission, in which a suddenly wealthy New Hampshire woman is attempting to stay out of the spotlight following a $560-million Powerball drawing.
Under New Hampshire law, a lottery winner's name, town and prize amount are public information. She could have remained anonymous had she established a trust, then had a trustee sign the ticket, the lawyers said.
A homeless mother of five in North Carolina offered to turn in Jane Doe's winning ticket in exchange for a six-bedroom house, a used vehicle and a small trust for each of her children.
The unidentified victor is going to court in hopes of getting her winnings while maintaining anonymity.
Attorneys for both sides argued the merits of the case on Tuesday at Hillsborough County Superior Court; the victor was not present.
"Time is of the essence in this matter", said the attorney, Steven Gordon, who is representing the victor known as Jane Doe in court documents.
Someone in Costa Rica would accept the winning ticket on behalf of Jane Doe in exchange for $1 million, travel expenses and "warm clothes to wear in New Hampshire". Jane Doe's lawyers said they were already lining up bodyguards.
He said there has already been a lot of interest in learning who the victor is.
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The complaint says she plans to remain in New Hampshire and give back "to the state and community that has given so much to her".
Most states view the names of winners of significant prizes as a matter of public record, though a few permit winners to keep their identities private. She wants to avoid the bad luck that has plagued other lottery winners. However, the complaint says, the commission has informed her that any adjustment of the ticket will make it invalid. But lottery officials say the chance to do that ended when she signed her name. Nowhere, they said, does the website advise the victor "that there is an option for a trust to claim a prize".
"You have to understand, this ticket is the most valuable piece of paper on the planet Earth", McIntyre said.
Charles McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, said the commission wants to work with the victor and is prepared to allow the funds to be assigned to a trust and transferred.
She has created a trust and wants the state to either withhold her name from public disclosure or replace her identifying information with that of the trust. "[Doe's] understandable yearning for normalcy after entering a lottery to win hundreds of millions of dollars is not a sufficient basis to shut the public out of the business of the government", State Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald wrote.
The victor could have remained anonymous had the ticket been signed in the name of a trust, but Jane Doe was not aware she could do that before she wrote her own name.
Gordon told the court that this is an extraordinary case, and her interests trump the public's right to know.