Lottery winner tries to avoid the misfortune of fortune

Jane Doe, the New Hampshire woman who hit the Powerball jackpot for $560 million, knows her life is going to change once her identity is revealed.

People will hound her for money. Her friendships might change forever.

But that’s the breaks in New Hampshire where, like Minnesota, her name is public and the lottery can release it if they want to.

Unlike Minnesota, however, had she signed the back of it as a trust she could remain anonymous.

She didn’t know that, of course, until after she’d already signed her name, the Manchester Union Leader reports.

“She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,” her attorney, Steven Gordon, wrote in court filing, seeking an order to allow her to remain anonymous. “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.”

“She intends to contribute a portion of her winnings to a charitable foundation so that they may do good in the world. She wishes to be a silent witness to these good works, far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery winners,” he wrote.

A hearing is scheduled for later this month. In the meantime, she hasn’t yet presented the ticket to the lottery, which is costing her $50,000 a day in interest.

What’s behind the reticence to come forward? The Powerball Curse.

“My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” Jack Whitaker, who hit the lottery for about $350 million. His daughter died of a drug overdose, which he claims was made possible by the money.

“You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up, too,” he told ABC News in 2007.

“Most of us think that winning the lottery is the ultimate fulfillment. But I found that wasn’t the case,” lottery winner Donna Mikkin wrote in a blog post. She won the lottery jackpot in 2007. “When we won the lottery, my inner dialogue was manic. I became more concerned about how I was being judged and perceived, not realizing I was the one doing the judging in the first place.”

Related: 8 Times Winning The Lottery Ruined Someone’s Life (Huffington Post)

  • Robert Moffitt
  • c.g.

    Yes, your life would change if you won the lottery and if it was anywhere near this amount of money. Yes, people will likely be hounding you for money….especially relatives and it is hard to say “no” if you have the money. And many will try to take advantage of you. People who have been your friends will still be your friends if they “truly” were a friend.

    If she loses the fight to stay anonymous, she needs to move to a gated community with a large security force present and likely consider changing her name. And likely you would have to be more cautious.

    But just think of the “good’ you could do with that kind of money. There are so many causes that you could be involved in that would really make a difference in the world. A person could really impact so many people in need that a disruption of your life would be nothing compared to the “good” you could do.

    • Her plan is to do good with the money. But having announced that… just imagine all the “charitable” groups who will come out of the woodwork assaulting her for a piece of the action?

      • c.g.

        Of course…….that is why she needs to have a charitable trust and a “committee” of friends/relatives who are involved with making decisions on who qualifies for the $, what are the requirements, what is the focus of the trust, etc….Basically a screening method where if an organization wants $, there is a process to go thru and who she can refer the charitable group to to apply. that kind of takes it out of her hands, even though she may have the controlling vote…There are professionals out there who could work with her on getting it all organized and such.

        I worked for a non-profit and there was a family that ran a family charitable trust and the rules to access any of their money was very specific and they had a committee to review and approve. I think at sometime we did apply for a grant from that trust….not sure if we ever got it.

        I remember reading about one of the Rockefellers and he worked for the Rockefeller Trust and his job was to give out money….of course it was set up in the way I described above….but I thought how great that would be and it would be the “perfect” job….

        • jon

          Charitable foundation all the way…. Not sure I’d end up taking any money for myself directly from the lotto folks for a big pay out, probably send it all through a tax exempt foundation, and then let me wife draw a salary for running the foundation… (she runs a non-profit now, and this one would be easier to manage, fewer people involved with it, and no fund raising)… with a couple 100 million in the bank (investment accounts) you can afford to pay yourself 6 figures for reviewing grant applications for a long time and still give the vast majority away.

          The only issue I got with the plan now is I’d want there to be a college fund for my nibbling to come out of the winnings, and I don’t really know how that’d fit in… But I got time to figure that out given how infrequently I buy a power ball ticket, much less how often I actually win.

          • c.g.

            That is why there are great tax lawyers out there to help navigate these type of issues. And this is why the rich keep getting richer and the rest of us tread water…ha,ha.

            I never buy lottery tickets…..I “intend” to sometimes, but forget….so I am likely never will win and won’t have to worry about this “problem”.

  • Mike Worcester

    Since there are far greater legal minds on this page, I am wondering if the state legislature could ever (or even if they would have the will), to direct the state lottery to allow major winners to remain anonymous? Or can they even considering this is a multi-state lottery?

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