Anonymity Granted to NH Winner of Powerball Jackpot

The woman who won $560 million Powerball jackpot in New Hampshire two months ago can keep her identity private but not her hometown, a judge has ruled.

Judge Charles Temple is presiding over the bid by New Hampshire lotto victor "Jane Doe" to preserve her anonymity in Hillsborough Superior Court.

Shaheen's law firm, Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., said the woman made a "huge mistake" signing her real name on the back of the ticket before contacting them or placing the money in a trust fund that would have allowed her to stay anonymous.

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.

That's what a woman who won more than half a billion dollars is fighting to do, but you might be surprised that most states, including Pennsylvania, do not protect the privacy of lottery winners.

Doe requested in the lawsuit that the state withhold her name from public disclosure or replace her identifying information with that of a trust she created.

The order permanently enjoined the Lottery Commission from disclosing her name pursuant to any future right-to-know request, or to any other person or entity unless authorized by law.

Temple said that the court has no doubt that if her identity was revealed, she would be subject to harassment, solicitation and other unwanted communication.

The winning ticket was purchased on January 6 at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack, near Nashua.

She learned from attorneys subsequently, however, that New Hampshire would in turn treat her right to privacy as forfeited under the state's Right to Know law.

"While we were expecting a different outcome and believed the state had a strong argument, we respect the court's decision", said a statement from the New Hampshire Lottery.

This victor marks the 11th Powerball jackpot victor in New Hampshire history. "That said, we will consult with the Attorney General's office to determine appropriate next steps regarding the case". He ruled, however, that her hometown can be released publicly.

"She was jumping up and down", Shaheen said. She has already donated a combined US$250,000 to Girls Inc of New Hampshire, an empowerment group for girls, and three chapters of End 68 Hours of Hunger, which provides meals for school children during the weekends.

Vanessa Coleman