Last month, an unnamed woman won a $560 million Powerball jackpot, but she can’t collect the money until she reveals her identity and accepts a giant, novelty check on camera. “Jane Doe” is now fighting in court to stay anonymous and avoid the negative attention of sudden millionaire status.
NewHampshire.com reports that court documents show the woman could have avoided exposure had she signed the back of her winning ticket in the name of a trust, a safety measure of which she was unaware. A signature is required for claiming the prize, according to the rules of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. But she used her own signature quickly due to “safety and other concerns” which she now calls a “huge mistake.” Is she Lucille Bluth? Whoever she is, she now fears what public exposure will mean in her area:
“She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,” wrote attorney Steven Gordon from the Shaheen and Gordon law firm. “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.”
New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre understands Jane Doe’s concerns, but has no mercy, saying, “While we respect this player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols.”
Until the matter is settled, the winner loses $50,000 every day the money remains unclaimed—yet, her hesitation is completely understandable. The Lotto Curse is real. In 2012, a woman named Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore was convicted of killing a lottery winner named Abraham Shakespeare, after introducing herself to him as an author looking to write a book about people who take advantage of lotto winners.
Time reported in 2016 on the number of winners who end up divorced, broke again, or dead from suicide. Many are targeted for violence and by swindlers, like Moore. And if you do manage to survive, an estimated 70 percent of people who win large sums lose it within a few years. Not revealing your name might give you a little room to breathe and invest $5 million with some wisdom. Just don’t sign anything.