After winning the $560 million jackpot in January, the winner sued the Lottery Commission to maintain her anonymity. Under existing lottery rules, winners are obligated to publicly claim their prizes, thereby letting friends and criminals alike know that they have come into millions. On Monday, however, Judge Charles Temple of New Hampshire’s Hillsborough County Superior Court ruled that she was allowed to remain anonymous.
In his ruling, the judge wrote that the woman’s name could be kept secret because lottery winners are subject to “repeated solicitation, harassment, and even violence.” He cited several other instances in which lottery winners were threatened in a variety of ways, noting that he “has no difficulty” believing that she might also “be subject to similar solicitation and harassment if her identity were disclosed.” Nevertheless, he ruled that the woman’s hometown could be revealed.
Last week, Judge Temple had ruled that the woman — known as “Jane Doe” in the case — could claim her prize money while he was considering the case. She collected her check for $352 million shortly thereafter, and reportedly gave hundreds of thousands of it to several nonprofit organizations, including Girls Inc. and End 68 Hours of Hunger.