Posted: February 05, 2018
A New Hampshire woman who won the $560 million Powerball jackpot is fighting in court to remain anonymous.
The winning ticket was sold last month at the Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack.
The woman who bought the ticket doesn’t want to be identified due to safety concerns, The Union Leader reported, even though she signed the back of it.
New Hampshire Lottery Commission rules require a winner sign the ticket before being able to claim a prize.
If she had signed the back of the ticket with the name of a trust, she could have maintained her privacy. However, her attorney, Steven Gordon, wrote in court filings obtained by The Union Leader that she didn’t realize she had that option until after the fact.
“Her attorney asked if she could ‘white out’ her name in front of lottery officials and replace it with the trust, but was told any alteration would invalidate the ticket and she'd lose $560 million,” the newspaper reported.
The lottery executive director said those rules are in place for security reasons.
The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
A tradition of playing Powerball together led a group of 10 North Carolina coworkers to a $200,000 lottery win.
“We’ve been playing the Powerball every week for the last three years,” Ronald Lute of Lincolnton said. “We each pitch in $10 and get our tickets.”
On Jan. 20, Lute stopped by Bob’s Superette in Lincolnton and got tickets for him and his fellow Ethan Allen employees, WSOC reported.
Dale Hedrick of Newton was the first one to realize they had a winning ticket.
“I checked my phone Sunday morning,” Hedrick said. “I just kept looking at the numbers. I looked at them so many times, I memorized them.”
Hedrick immediately called Lute to tell him, but he didn’t answer, so he called Anthony Rowe of Conover instead.
“I couldn’t believe we actually won something after playing all these years,” Rowe said.
Eric Dellinger of Lincoln was the last to find out. He didn’t learn about the win until three days later.
“I was on vacation,” Dellinger explained. “I didn’t answer my phone because I thought it was work. I couldn’t believe it when I finally found out. It’s exciting.”
Dennis Setzer Jr. of Sherrills Ford, Roger Smith from Lincoln, Matthew Hedrick from Catawba, Randy Jones from Lincolnton, Randy Heavner from Lincolnton and Johnny Moss from Newton are the other co-workers who won.
The group claimed their prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh, WSOC reported.
After required state and federal tax withholdings, they each took home $14,100. They all said they plan to save the money or use it to pay bills.
The winning ticket beat odds of one in 913,129. It matched the numbers on the four white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. Because the ticket had the $1 Power Play feature, the prize quadrupled to $200,000 when the 4X multiplier was drawn.
Some workers at a Minnesota courthouse were out of order Thursday morning, but nobody was held in contempt. They were too busy celebrating.
A group of 22 workers at the St. Louis County Courthouse were celebrating after learning they would split a $250,000 Powerball jackpot, The Duluth News Tribune reported.
“I was upstairs in my office and I could hear these guys hollering downstairs,” facilities manager Angie Baumchen said.
The winning Powerball numbers Wednesday were 7-24-33-49-50, and the Powerball was 4. The courthouse crew matched four of the five numbers and the Powerball. Normally that would be worth $50,000, but since the players added the Power Play multiplier, the jackpot was multiplied by five, the News Tribune reported.
After some figuring, group members believe they will clear $7,500 apiece after taxes.
Head janitor Grant Ellis bought the ticket Wednesday in Hibbing at a convenience store across the street from the courthouse.
The winners work in several departments at the courthouse and the annex. They began buying lottery tickets as a group 15 years ago, and the most they had won previously was $44, the News Tribune reported.
Group members said they would take a bus on Jan. 19 to the Minnesota State Lottery office, to file the paperwork and claim the prize as a group, the News Tribune reported.
When lottery fever hits with a rising Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot, it helps to put things in perspective. Here's a look at the seven biggest jackpots in U.S. history, from smallest to largest.
7. $564 million Powerball
This jackpot was split three ways and won on Feb. 11, 2015. Details of two of the winners weren't made public, but for the third winner, Marie Holmes, of North Carolina, the draw was truly life-changing, CNN Money reported.
A single mom, Holmes used to work at Walmart, Subway and McDonald's to support four children, one of whom has cerebral palsy. At the time of winning, she said she planned to use the money to put her children through college, buy a house for her mom and donate some to charity.
6. $587.5 million Powerball
On Nov. 28, 2012, the winning pot was split between Matthew Good and the Hill family of Missouri. Cindy and Mark Hill told their daughter not to get her hopes up, as winning was a long shot, according to a Powerball press release. But when they realized they had the lucky ticket, they decided to take her on a beach vacation and buy her a horse.
5. $590.5 million Powerball
At 84, Gloria Mackenzie, of Florida, won the entire jackpot alone on May 18, 2013. However, as she revealed, it was a stranger's kindness that allowed her to take home the prize.
"Another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket," she told CNN after winning.
4. $648 million Mega Millions
Ira Curry, of Georgia, and Steve Tran, of California, split the Dec. 17, 2013, jackpot. Curry said she bet using a combination of family birthdays. As for Tran, he was working as a delivery driver at the time and immediately called his boss saying, "I hit the jackpot. I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow or ever."
3. $656 million Mega Millions
Like many of the big wins, this jackpot was split between three winning tickets on March 30, 2012. Merle and Patricia Butler, a retired couple from Illinois, took home a third of the change. A group of friends in Maryland, calling themselves the "three amigos," claimed a third as well. The final winner was never revealed, but the ticket was purchased in Kansas.
2. $758.7 million Powerball
Mavis Wanczyk purchased the winning ticket in Massachusetts, making history as the biggest single winner in North American history. The win came earlier this year, on August 23, 2017.
After winning, Wanczyk told her boss: "I will not be coming back."
1. $1.6 billion Powerball
Although it was split three ways, none of the winners could complain too much about sharing the record-shattering Jan. 13, 2016, jackpot. John and Lisa Robinson, of Tennessee, Maureen Smith, of Florida, and Mae and Marvin Acosta, of California – who took six months to claim their winnings – split the prize three ways.
The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
Who wouldn’t want to win a lottery jackpot? Why not strike it rich with the Powerball or Mega Millions?
Sure, it would be fun at first. But striking it rich so suddenly may not turn out to be so lucky after all. Here are five reasons you really may not want to win the lottery:
1) The advertised jackpot amount is wildly inflated. You won’t REALLY get the full amount anyway, if you choose to collect it in a lump sum, as most winners do. The amount will immediately shrink by roughly 40% then the IRS will carve off at least 25% in withholding taxes. Hardly worth it, right?
2) Your relationships with family and friends will change, and not in a good way: From jackpot day forward, you’ll always wonder: Are they being nice to me because I’m their family member or friend, or are they buttering me up because they want something? And keep your eye on your drink at all times …
3) It won’t make you happier, part I: A study published in 1978 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology a few decades back, when lotteries were still fairly new, compared the happiness levels of Illinois State Lottery winners and non-winners. They found little difference. And when it came to rating everyday happiness, the lottery winners took “significantly less pleasure” in the simple things like chatting with a friend or reading a magazine, according to NBCNews.com.
4) It won’t make you happier, part II: More recently than the ’70s research detailed above, a 2008 University of California study measured people’s happiness six months after winning a relatively modest lottery prize — a lump sum equivalent to about eight months’ worth of income, according to NBCNews.com. “We found that this had zero detectable effect on happiness at that time,” Peter Kuhn, one of the study authors and a professor of economics, told the network in 2012.
5) One name: Jack Whittaker. The poster child for lottery misery is a West Virginia businessman who won a $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002, at that time the largest in U.S. history. A decade later, his daughter and granddaughter had died of possible drug overdoses, his wife had divorced him, and he had been sued numerous times, according to Joe Nocera, writing for the New York Times opinion pages. Once, when he was at a strip club, someone drugged Whittaker’s drink and took $545,000 in cash that had been sitting in his car, Nocera wrote. The lottery winner later sobbed to reporters, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.”
But wait, here’s the good news: With the chances of buying the winning ticket somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 292.2 million, you are not really going to have to worry about any of these negative outcomes — just about the money you spent on non-winning tickets.
Believe it or not, the chances of getting struck by lightning, dating a supermodel or becoming president (among other feats) are all more likely than winning Powerball.
Forbes spoke to Lustig and procured some of his expert advice on how to win the jackpot.
1. Avoid "quick-pick"
The "quick-pick" method works in number sets, which means every number doesn't have the same amount of luck one would perceive. "Every time you buy a quick pick, you get a different set of numbers; therefore, your odds are always going to be at their worst in that particular game," Lustig said to Forbes about the Powerball.
2. Use the entire board
Many people use birthdates and anniversaries when filling out their cards. While your loved ones bring you priceless joy, using their special days to bring home the jackpot will likely mean you end up splitting the prize with 20-40 people. Instead of just playing numbers 1-31, use all the numbers available. "If you spread the numbers out across the whole track, you’ll either be the only winner or will split it with only one or two people,” Lustig says.
3. Stick with your instincts
Lustig has a specific way to finding the numbers you feel most comfortable with in his book, but ultimately, once you pick the group that you think will work, stick with it. “Remember, a set of numbers wins the grand prize, not individual numbers,” Lustig says. If playing multiple cards, have some variety in the grouping of numbers chosen to maximize your odds.
4. Be consistent
Simply put: If you want to win a particular game, follow past and future drawings to get the hang of it.
5. Don't get carried away
While winning $900 million would ultimately grant you and your loved ones financial security, it's important not to spend money you can't afford to lose (i.e.: groceries, rent, etc.) on lottery tickets. If you can only buy one ticket or even 10 but not 100, that's OK. "Set a budget of what you’re going to spend. Do not get caught up in what’s called 'lottery fever,' Lustig says. Spend what you can comfortably afford to on lottery tickets and no more.
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