Breakthrough Web Design - 641-201-1459 - Build Your Online Presence
News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the North Iowa Region
Expert Web Design
for your business

CALL 641-201-1459
Founded October 1, 2010

Trust withdraws claim for Hot Lotto jackpot prize


This news story was published on January 27, 2012.
Advertise on NIT Subscribe to NIT

Rod Boshart, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –

DES MOINES – An already weird story took another bizarre twist Thursday when representatives for a trust based in Belize that turned in the winning ticket told Iowa Lottery officials the claim for the jackpot prize was being withdrawn and the unknown winner was walking away from a potential $7.5 million cash payout after taxes.

“This has been and continues to be the strangest situation that we can recall in the 26-year history of our lottery,” said Terry Rich, the Iowa Lottery’s chief operating officer. “We were excited when the Hot Lotto jackpot-winning ticket was presented in December and we were hopeful that we’d soon be paying out the big prize to the lucky winner. That has not happened.”

Instead, the jackpot claim made last month by New York attorney Crawford Shaw, 76, on behalf of Hexham Investments Trust of Bedford, N.Y., was withdrawn in a letter provided by the Des Moines Davis Brown law firm shortly before 6 p.m. – ending a 13-month saga that began when the winning Hot Lotto jackpot ticket was bought by an unidentified person on December 2010.

Meanwhile Thursday, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office and the state Division of Criminal Investigation issued a joint statement indicating that they will continue probing the case “in order to ensure the integrity of the lottery and to determine whether those involved complied with state law.” Officials declined further comment at this time.

Iowa Lottery officials had set a 3 p.m. Friday deadline for attorneys representing Hexham – a corporation in the country of Belize – to provide them with basic information about who bought the winning ticket and some of the circumstances surrounding the year-long wait for the signed ticket to be turned in for validation so they could determine if was legally purchased, legally possessed and legally presented.

The Iowa Lottery received a letter from the Davis Brown law firm specifying that if the jackpot were to be paid to the trust, that all of the winnings would be donated to charity, however lottery officials declined to pay the prize because of concerns about the legality of the purchase, possession and presentation of the ticket.

Rich said lottery officials remained in contact with Brown Davis lawyers throughout this week and received a letter from the attorneys on Wednesday specifying that if the jackpot were to be paid to the trust, that all of the winnings would be donated to charity. However, lottery officials declined to pay the prize because of concerns about the legality of the purchase, possession and presentation of the ticket.

As of Thursday, lottery officials said they had not received the information they needed to be able to pay the prize winnings and the withdrawal formally ended Hexham’s claim to the money. That means that $10.7 million will be divided among the multi-state game’s 15 jurisdictions with Iowa’s share being about $1.3 million, which Rich said will go into an unclaimed prize pool and offered to Iowa players in a format yet to be determined.

“The winning ticket was signed by a trustee on behalf of Hexham Investments Trust, but no member of the trust was present when the ticket was brought to the lottery by two lawyers on Dec. 29,” Rich said.

“We were ready to write the check at 3 o’clock,” added Rich, but Thursday’s withdrawal closed the books on the Lottery’s role in a story that he called nothing short of “amazing.”

However, it did not end the state’s interest in the details of the mystery. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office and Division of Criminal Investigation issued a joint statement indicating that they will continue probing the case “in order to ensure the integrity of the lottery and to determine whether those involved complied with state law.”

During his conversations with the lottery, Shaw specified that he was not the beneficiary of Hexham Investments Trust, only its lawyer and trustee. He also specified that he was not the person who purchased the winning ticket in Des Moines, and that he ultimately did not know the identity of the winner or winners, Rich said.

The winning Hot Lotto ticket was purchased on Dec. 23, 2010, at a QuikTrip in Des Moines. With less than two hours remaining before the ticket was slated to expire, Shaw turned it in last Dec. 29 on behalf of Hexham Investments, which at that time had an estimated value of $7.53 million in a lump-sum payment after state and federal taxes were assessed or in annual payments of $400,000 for 25 years.

Shaw and attorneys from the Des Moines law firm met Jan. 17 with Iowa Lottery officials, but Shaw would not identify who bought the ticket and who was part of Hexham Investments, lottery officials said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available