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Anonymous Lottery Winner Walks Away with Nothing

Some state lotteries require their winners to provide identification information. Not all winners, however, want to thrust themselves into the public spotlight. For example, last September I wrote about a New York lotto winner who gave his $3 million winning ticket to a store clerk under the false pretense that as an illegal immigrant, he would be deported after coming forward.

In that case, the holder of the winning ticket came forward. But would a winner actually refuse to come forward to avoid release of identification information and thus forego the winnings? As reported by Joe Kristan at Going Concern, apparently so:

[A] New York lawyer acting on behalf of holder of a winning lottery ticket purchased at a Des Moines convenience store let the ticket expire rather than revealing the identity of the ticket owner.

The ticket was turned in hours before its expiration by a Des Moines law firm hired by a New York attorney employed by a Belize trust claiming to be the ticket owner.  The lottery wouldn’t approve the prize without knowing who was behind the trust, and the trust wasn’t telling.  Apparently $14 million wasn’t enough money to get the human(s) behind the trust to come out of the cold.

Truly bizarre. The question on all our minds: Why?!

Joe offers a few plausible reasons. The winner may be a fugitive or a tax evader. Or perhaps the winner is already grossly wealthy from offshore investments and doesn’t want to bring that to light, he suggests.

Even if any of these possibilities is the case, what was stopping the ticket winner from just giving it to someone else to claim?

It feels like I must be missing something. Maybe the act of giving the ticket to someone else would be considered a gift, giving rise to other issues. Or maybe Iowa law simply prohibits it.

Now a criminal investigation into the matter is underway and whoever had the winning ticket lost out on $14.3 million. Well played, people.

  1. Anonymous
    February 12th, 2012 at 02:58 | #1


    I am greatly intrigued by this mysterious quandary.

    Perhaps the owner was afraid of others harassing him or her for money? Along similar lines as the tax evasion theory, maybe he wanted to avoid paying a deb, such as a tort verdict? Perhaps the owner had bought all the numeric combinations and wanted to avoid exposure of the scheme? Perhaps there was some other guile or corruption in play? Setting up a trust takes a while and it seems that the trust was likely established before the ticket was bought.

    In other conspiracy news, can it be confirmed that taxdood is really a front for the notorious ne’eredowell Jim W. Fink?

  2. March 30th, 2012 at 12:57 | #2

    Don’t worry. If I win tonight you’ll know. Oh you’ll know!

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