Staying anonymous when hitting it big with a lottery - WNEM TV 5

Staying anonymous when hitting it big with a lottery

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GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

After winning last month’s $559 million Powerball Jackpot, a New Hampshire woman is now suing the state to keep her name a secret.

New Hampshire is like most states, in which a big lottery winner must come forward publicly to claim their prize, so she’s fighting to keep her identity hidden.

Striking it rich is every lottery players dream, but for one lucky woman, it seems to be a bit of a nightmare.

She calls herself Jane Doe and is suing the New Hampshire lottery commission so that she can stay anonymous after winning more than $500,000.

“That would bring a lot of people out of the woodwork,” said Brad Kharfan.

Kharfan is one Jane Doe’s side.

He owns a convenient store in Flint where he sells a lot of lottery tickets and once in a while, even he plays.

Kharfan said if he won, he would want to stay anonymous for safety reasons.

“They might think that I’m an easy target maybe for borrowing money or for scams,” Kharfan said. “They could even wanna steal from me.”

But others buying lottery tickets are a little more optimistic.

“I would have no problem saying who I am,” said Charles Stocker.

Stocker said even though he would be proud of his winnings, he admits there could be a downside to people knowing he has a little extra money in his pockets.

“You know they find out that you had the Mega Millions or something and they might think he hit it rich,” Stocker said. “They could end up trying something.”

Michigan state lottery officials said that the reason people have to come forward after winning a multi-state lottery is that the agencies want to show that real people play and real people win.

The soon to be multi-millionaire from New Hampshire wants her money to go into a trust which is legal there, unlike Michigan, since winnings can only be handed out to an individual.

But the problem is Jane Doe already signed the ticket with her real name and changing the name on it would void it.

Kharfan said if that’s the rule, then the rule should be changed.

“I think it should be left up to her. There has to be new legislation so be it,” Kharfan said.

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