Winner of $560M Powerball can stay anonymous, judge rules


Winner of $560M Powerball can stay anonymous, judge rules

Cashiers Kathy Robinson, left, and Ethel Kroska, right, both of Merrimack, N.H., sell a lottery ticket at Reeds Ferry Market convenience store in Merrimack on January 7, 2018.

The mysterious victor of a $560 million lottery ticket who fought to keep her identity a secret is allowed to stay anonymous, a judge ruled on Monday.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission said in a statement it is determining how to respond to the judge's decision that went against its recommendation to name the victor.

In a 15-page decision, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles S. Temple ruled that the identity of the woman, dubbed Jane Doe in court papers, will remain off-limits to the prying eyes of reporters who file public records requests, but her city or town of residence will be disclosed.

He also ruled in agreement with the woman's lawyers, stating she would "be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and other unwanted communications" were her identity released.

Billy Shaheen, a lawyer for the New Hampshire victor, who was described in court papers only as Jane Doe, said that his client was elated to hear the news.

Temple allowed the woman to maintain her anonymity through the monicker "Jane Doe" but ruled that the woman's hometown can still be made public by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. Attorneys for the victor have said she plans to donate between $25 million to $50 million during her lifetime, beginning with donations of $150,000 to Girls Inc. and $33,000 apiece to three chapters of End 68 Hours of Hunger.

She has since set up the Good Karma Trust of 2018 and intends to give some of her money to charities, including Girls Inc and End 68 Hours of Hunger.

The state had argued names of lottery winners must be disclosed publicly to ensure they are distributed properly and that winners hold no relation to lottery employees.

"With another major winter storm in the forecast, personal and public safety are top priorities", said Michael Sweeney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery in a written statement.

The judge also rejected the lottery commission's argument that the woman's name should be revealed to assure the public she was a "bona fide" lottery participant and "real" victor. The state Attorney General's Office said the woman's name must be revealed because she signed the back of the ticket, USA Today reported.

The commission already allows winners to sign their tickets with the name of a trust instead of the individual's name, the judge noted, in essence allowing winners to be anonymous.

Last week, the commission handed over $264 million - the amount left after taxes were deducted - to the woman's lawyers.