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Lottery Winner Fights State Law To Keep Identity Private

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you won the lottery, would you want to keep it a secret and stay anonymous?

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.

In January, a woman in New Hampshire won $560 million in the Powerball lottery. She signed the back of her ticket, but didn’t realize that when she signed it, her name was about to go public.

Her lawyers sued the Lottery Commission, attempting to keep her identity private, in part, because they say her safety would be in jeopardy.

New Hampshire Lottery officials argued the state’s right-to-know law allowed them to reveal her name.

A judge ruled Monday the woman can keep her identity private because the judge had no doubt that she would suffer an alarming amount of harassment and solicitation.

You might be surprised to know the Pennsylvania Lottery wouldn’t protect your privacy either.

“As in most states, Pennsylvania Lottery winners cannot remain anonymous and certain winner information is made public under the state’s Open Records law. This assures the public that Lottery winners are real people and that the Lottery operates with integrity and transparency,” the Lottery said.

At one point, former state Rep. Ted Harhai, of Westmoreland County, tried to challenge that. He twice introduced legislation that would have allowed lottery winners to keep their identities private, but it never went anywhere in Harrisburg.

For now, you can’t stop the Pennsylvania Lottery from releasing your information. To give people some privacy, however, on its website, it only lists your first name and an initial for your last name, along with your county and winnings.

As for the woman in New Hampshire, by not cashing in right away and fighting for her privacy in court, she lost $15,000 a day, or half $1 million a month, in interest.

If you won the lottery, would you want to keep it a secret and stay anonymous?

Powerball Winner Claims Ticket, But We Still Don’t Know His Name

Someone has come forward with the $456.7 million jackpot-winning Powerball ticket sold at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Lancaster County last month. Technically, it is not a person whose name is on the ticket. instead, it is the Emerald Legacy Trust.

According to Pennsylvania Lottery officials, the claimant set up a trust and opted to receive a cash prize of $273,959,698 last week. After 24 percent federal tax and 3.07 percent state tax was withheld, the Emerald Legacy Trust received a prize of $199,798,807.75 from the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Lottery jackpot winners often set up a trust to claim big winnings. In fact, a trust can help the winner or winners remain anonymous and help them manage the newfound wealth.

PA’s 18th Powerball jackpot win

This marked the 18th time a person or group of people in Pennsylvania has won the multi-state Powerball jackpot. However, this is the largest prize ever awarded by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Additionally, it is Powerball’s eighth-largest jackpot to date.

The winning ticket matched all five white balls, 22-57-59-60-66, and the red Powerball 07, for the Saturday, March 17, 2018 Powerball draw held on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Pennsylvania Lottery announced a few days after the draw that the ticket was sold at the Speedway at 675 Lancaster Road in Manheim.

Lottery officials said the ticket holder had one year from the date of the draw to claim the prize. The winner could have accepted a $456.7 million annuity in 30 payments over the next 29 years, or a $273.9 million lump sum in cash, less state and federal taxes.

The Speedway station was able to collect a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

At the time, Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko congratulated Speedway for selling winning ticket. Plus, he congratulated the winner for finding some tremendous St. Patrick’s Day luck.

PA’s 20th multi-state jackpot win

In addition to 18 Powerball jackpot wins, Pennsylvanians have won the Mega Millions multi-state lottery jackpot twice. In fact, that makes this particular winner the Pennsylvania Lottery’s 20th multi-state jackpot winner to date.

The Pennsylvania Lottery started selling tickets for Powerball in 2002 and Mega Millions in 2010.

A total of 44 states, Washington, D.C., US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico sell Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.

The largest multi-state lottery jackpot ever was a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot. Three winners from California, Florida, and Tennessee split the jackpot in January 2016.

PA online lottery

The Pennsylvania Lottery will actually go online in May. In fact, a comprehensive gambling expansion package passed by state lawmakers in October 2017 included approval for online lottery sales.

However, online lottery sales in PA will not include Powerball and Mega Millions tickets at launch. Powerball and Mega Millions tickets might be added at a later date.

All Pennsylvania Lottery proceeds go to programs benefiting older residents and have since ticket sales began in 1972.

The winner of last month's more than $450 million Powerball lottery set up a trust to claim the prize and preserve anonymity. This is the largest payday in PA Lottery history.