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NH holder of $560M lottery ticket wins quick hearing in bid to remain anonymous

Union Leader Correspondent

February 08. 2018 10:08PM

NASHUA — A local judge has agreed to expedite a court hearing for the New Hampshire woman claiming to own the winning $560 million Powerball ticket.

The unidentified woman has not yet submitted her winning ticket to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, but has filed a civil lawsuit against the commission hoping to keep her identity a secret even though she already signed the back of the winning ticket purchased last month at Reed’s Ferry Market in Merrimack.

Judge Charles Temple of Hillsborough County Superior Court originally scheduled a court hearing on the merits of the case for Feb. 21, but on Thursday granted a motion filed by the winner’s attorney seeking to expedite the hearing. A new court date has now been set for Tuesday, according to court documents.

Attorney Steven Gordon, who is representing the woman referred to in court records as Jane Doe, maintains that his client is losing about $14,000 in interest every day that passes and the winning prize has not been claimed.

Meanwhile, affidavits from an accountant and an expert attorney have been filed in court records stressing the importance of keeping the woman’s identity private.

“In my experience, the publication of these individuals’ identities often leads to disastrous outcomes, including theft, ransom and harassment,” wrote David Desmarais, a certified public accountant and shareholder in the Private Client Services Group of Kahn, Litwin, Renza Co., Ltd., of Boston, Mass.

According to Desmarais, he has seen the significant impact that such sudden wealth may have on individuals and their families, including negative consequences that occur when they are unable to remain anonymous.

“Many clients are forced to hire professional security teams to accompany their children on trips out of the country,” wrote Desmarais. “ … the dangers of having their identities publicized can force these high-wealth individuals to leave their communities permanently, change their identities, go into hiding and maintain around the clock security. The preservation of these individuals’ anonymity allows them to remain in their communities and use their new wealth to give back to these same communities.”

New Hampshire Lottery Commission rules and regulations require that a winner complete and sign the back of a winning Powerball ticket before being able to claim the prize. However, had the ticket been signed by the trustee of a designated trust, she could have maintained her privacy.

Attorney William Zorn of McLane Middleton Professional Association has represented 17 lottery winners throughout New England.

“Several lottery winners whom I have represented have been concerned for their physical safety. One lottery winner who lived in an area with a high incidence of crime slept with a gun by his bedside until he was able to move,” Zorn wrote in an affidavit.

He said another one of his clients was so inundated with visits to his home from solicitors and individuals that he eventually decided to keep a basket filled with $1 bills that he would hand out and encourage them to take the same chance that he did.

Charlie McIntyre, New Hampshire Lottery executive director, said last week that while he respects the player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols.

Courts Merrimack Nashua

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