Victor of $560m Powerball jackpot can stay anonymous, but there's a catch

A Powerball lottery tickets are printed out of a lottery machine at a convenience store Saturday Jan. 6 2018 in Chicago

A Powerball lottery tickets are printed out of a lottery machine at a convenience store Saturday Jan. 6 2018 in Chicago

A mystery New Hampshire woman who won a $560 million Powerball prize in January can remain anonymous, a judge ruled Monday.

"Although the Commission dismissed this harassment as trivial and or speculative, for the court to do so would require it to ignore the significant media attention this case has received, the numerous documents of bad experiences of other lottery winners, as well as the bevy of unsolicited emails, phone calls and in-person visits already directed at Ms. Doe through her attorneys", Temple wrote.

In his 16-page resolution filed in Hillsborough Superior Court Southern District, Judge Charles Temple weighed the public's right to know with the unnamed woman's fears of "unreasonable intrusion" into her life and daily affairs. He did rule, however, that the woman's hometown can be publicly released, as it was "highly unlikely" that the woman could be identified as the victor exclusively based on her hometown.

The judge wrote that he had "no doubts whatsoever that should Ms. Doe's identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation, and other unwanted communications".

And since Doe signed the ticket with her actual name before one of her attorneys she retained afterward told her she had forfeited her anonymity in doing so, the judge didn't think the New Hampshire Lottery Commission made a good case that it would have denied her winnings if a trustee's name was on the ticket instead of Doe's.

A lawsuit filed by the woman's lawyers says she is an "engaged community member" who wants to go about public life "without being known or targeted as the victor of a half-billion dollars".

He decided that she could keep her identity private but her home town could be revealed - Merrimack, about 25 miles south of Concord.

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Still, the judge said, the winner's hometown, Merrimack, New Hampshire, would have to be disclosed.

The victor sued the New Hampshire Lottery last month under the name of Jane Doe, in a bid to collect the winnings through a trust to protect her anonymity.

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.

New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre said in a statement that the commission was "expecting a different outcome", and that it will discuss "appropriate next steps" with the New Hampshire attorney general's office.

The woman is collecting a lump-sum cash prize of $352 million, which will get whittled down to $264 million after taxes. The commission hasn't responded to a request for comment on the judge's decision.

Doe has pledged to donate around $25 million to $50 million of the largess to charity over time.

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