Someone in New Jersey won the Mega Millions jackpot last week. We just don’t know who it is.
The NJ lottery mystery
A Lukoil service station in Riverdale sold the winning ticket. So far, the station owner has not revealed the name of the lucky purchaser.
However, the owner does claim to know the person’s identity. Ameer Krass says he used the store’s security footage and the ticket’s timestamp to figure out who bought the ticket.
All he is willing to reveal is that the customer is a regular patron of the store. The only other information about the winner came from one of the cashiers, who revealed that the winner was a Bloomfield man.
Krass, for his part, remains unwilling to divulge anything else. He says he has not contacted the winner, and he urges others to do the same out of respect for the person’s privacy.
However, Krass has also benefitted from the win. As the owner of the store that sold the ticket, Krass received $30,000 from the lottery commission.
He says that he will use part of the money to give bonuses to his workers at the station on Route 23. The rest will go towards funds for his church.
Revealing lottery winners’ identities is a dodgy affair…
However, the winner will likely have to submit their name to the public in due time. Only six states allow winners to remain anonymous, and New Jersey is not one of them.
Furthermore, the New Jersey Lottery is noncommittal about the formation of a trust or limited liability corporation to claim lottery winnings. The official site for the commission advises winners to consult with an attorney about such things.
Identification of lottery winners is a contentious issue. Many winners do not want news of their newfound largesse to become a matter of public record.
Furthermore, they don’t want the publicity that comes with the event. In fact, a woman in New Hampshire sued lottery officials to remain anonymous as she claims a $559.7 Powerball jackpot that she won in January 2018.
Last month, a New Hampshire judge agreed with her, and declared that she could claim her winnings in secret. New Hampshire lottery personnel are considering their options for responding to the ruling.
…but then again, so is winning the lottery
Her lawsuit may seem unnecessary to some, but she has good reason for her desire to remain hidden. In fact, her very life may be at stake.
Stories abound of the unfortunate and disastrous fates suffered by lottery winners over the years. Often, family members of the winner are responsible for the ensuing carnage.
Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in a 1996 Illinois lottery drawing. Nine years later, his sister-in-law and her husband kidnapped and murdered him, hoping to draw inheritance.
Jack Whittaker won a $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. After the win, he and his wife divorced after he became an alcoholic.
Whittaker has been robbed twice. His granddaughter and her boyfriend both died of drug overdoses, a product of money he provided for her. His daughter also died mysteriously.
Some never even have a chance to enjoy their winnings. Urooj Khan died of cyanide poisoning in 2012, one day after claiming a $1 million prize.
So, both the Riverdale winner and Krass have good reason to remain quiet for as long as they can. Unfortunately, the law may preclude permanent silence on the matter, one way or another.
Perhaps the recent New Hampshire winner’s court victory will serve as a precedent. However, let’s hope the winner uses part of his money for security personnel and attorneys.