Lottery win brings out the worst of society

The woman who just wants to collect her Powerball winnings without you knowing her name is getting offers of help in her effort… in exchange for a cut of the cash.

The woman’s — identified only as Jane Doe — experience illuminates the dark side of state-run lotteries: the dregs that are stirred up by the splashy marketing of happy winners by the lottery.

Attorneys filed paperwork in court in New Hampshire on Monday, which revealed why the woman wants to be anonymous, the Boston Globe says.

“Press reports begat solicitations and proposed ‘solutions’ from all over the world,” wrote Steven M. Gordon, an attorney for Doe, in Monday’s filing. “ … The offers had a general theme: for a fee — ranging from ‘as little’ as $10 million to 1 [percent] of the prize — the individual would take on Ms. Doe’s identity and collect the funds and then remit to her the remaining proceeds.”

Gordon included biographical information on several people who contacted his firm, the high-powered Shaheen & Gordon group that counts William Shaheen, a former US attorney in New Hampshire and husband of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, among its partners.

Among Doe’s many would-be helpers are a Navy veteran “who had fallen on hard times”; a company in Indonesia seeking investors; a “caged bird” in North Carolina who’s hoping “to soar”; a single father in Colorado who said he’ll be Doe’s “scapegoat”; and another North Carolina resident describing herself as a single parent of five, willing to turn in Doe’s ticket in exchange for a six-bedroom house, used car, and a small trust for each of her children, Gordon wrote.

The woman hit Powerball for $560 million, and followed the directions for redeeming her ticket by signing the back of the lottery ticket with her name, address and phone number. That’s data that becomes public, inviting every Tom, Dick, and Jerk to come out of the woodwork trying to get a piece of the action.

The state’s attorney, in his own filing, said the data should be public.

“The opportunity for life altering money is the essence of a large jackpot lottery such as Powerball. [Doe’s] life will be altered whether her name is released or not. [Doe’s] understandable yearning for normalcy after entering a lottery to win hundreds of millions of dollars is not a sufficient basis to shut the public out of the business of the government,” State Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald wrote.

Remember that the next time public officials hide behind data privacy laws when called to account for the actions of a politician or employees.