Feature

Lotto winner refuses to make name public and lottery won’t pay her

The winning numbers triple-checked and the lottery ticket signed, the New Hampshire woman knew her life was about to change in a very positive way — except for one petrifying thing.

As the winner of last month’s $560 million Powerball, she would soon be the world’s newest owner of a nine-digit bank account.

But because of lottery rules, everyone in the world would know about it — neighbors, old high school friends, con artists, criminals.

Now the woman is asking a judge to let her keep the cash — and remain anonymous. In court documents obtained by NewHampshire.com, she is fittingly identified only as Jane Doe.

“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.

On the other side is a woman suddenly faced with a life-changing stroke of luck who, court documents say, wishes to live “far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery winners.”