Iowa lottery sets deadline for trust info

Jan. 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM
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DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The Iowa Lottery issued an ultimatum: Name people in a trust trying to claim a Hot Lotto prize worth up to $14.2 million or forfeit any claim to the prize.

Iowa Lottery Chief Executive Officer Terry Rich said the drastic move after several meetings between lottery officials, and representatives from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa Attorney General's office, The Des Moines Register reported Tuesday.

The requirement expires Friday. Just hours before the ticket was to expire last month, attorneys from the Des Moines law firm of Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts PC, presented the winning chit.

Since the lawyers stepped forward, however, the winner or winners have been firewalled behind Hexham Investments Trust, represented by Crawford Shaw, an attorney from Bedford, N.Y. The Register said Shaw, who said he is not a winner himself, met with lottery officials last week but never disclosed the members of the trust.

"The citizens of Iowa deserve to know the story," Rich said. "We haven't received the information our security team needs to verify the claim. It has never taken this long to get this information before, and we felt a deadline was appropriate."

Iowa Lottery officials want to know the identity of the ticket purchaser, who either owned or had the ticket since its purchase date, and the birth date, address, phone number and e-mail address of any trust member. The ticket has been authenticated.

A letter outlining the requirements was faxed Monday to Julie Johnson McLean, the local attorney representing Shaw and the Hexham trust. While McLean confirmed to the Register she received the letter and forwarded it to Shaw, she said she did not know whether Shaw would meet Friday's deadline.

Under Iowa law, state lottery officials don't have specific power to set a deadline for receiving information once a prize is claimed, but Rich said the nature of the matter dictated the unusual move.

"Everything about this jackpot has been strange," Rich said.

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