It’s most people’s dream to hit the jackpot. Wouldn’t that be nice? To wake up one day and discover you own a fortune?
But the tales of lottery winners are disturbing. Many, many people who win big often regret it. Believe it or not, their lives are ruined. That sudden influx of cash leads to plenty of headaches and trouble.
That’s especially true once they appear on the news, holding up those big checks. Becoming famous for winning money is like putting a huge target on your back. So, some people try to remain anonymous.
A New Hampshire woman just won over half a billion dollars. She might have to give up that massive check because she won’t be able to hide her name.
From Fox News:
The New Hampshire woman who won the $559.7 million Powerball jackpot last month is refusing to claim her prize, saying in court documents that she first wants assurances she can remain anonymous when she collects her winnings.
But state officials say the woman may face even longer odds in her legal battle, because New Hampshire open-records laws mandate that lotto winners publicly disclose their name, town and amount won.
“While we respect this player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols,” New Hampshire lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre said in a statement.
New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that permit lottery winners to form anonymous trusts to shield their newfound riches. But the woman already signed her name to the winning ticket; she cannot alter her signature and hide her identity without voiding the ticket…
Her resulting dilemma – forgo either a once-in-a-lifetime payday, or her anonymity – is legally impermissible, according to her attorney.
“She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member,” the woman’s attorney wrote in 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.”
It’s quite the dilemma. Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to just take the money, come what may. But imagine if all your Facebook friends discovered you’re rich. Suddenly all those long-lost cousins want to come and visit! Buddies you didn’t know you had want to “take you out to dinner” (expecting you’ll pay). And of course, every cockroach crook will be looking to trap you in a dark alley.
There are reasons why people went as far as wearing bags over their heads when they collected their winnings. In 2012 a man was poisoned after he won just $1 million. Granted, it was Chicago, so that might have happened anyway. But it makes sense this woman wants to keep it a secret.