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idaho media scrutiny mega millions

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#1 Hum

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 13:20

As millions of hopeful Americans line up to buy winning Powerball lottery tickets for the $320 million prize today, one former Mega Millions winner who banked $190 million and then vanished from her small town and the public eye is still trying to come to terms with her winnings.

Holly Lahti won the $190 million Mega Millions jackpot in January, 2011, a moment that most lottery players hope will be the happiest of their lives. Within days, however, a mug shot of Lahti sporting a black eye and bruises, along with a mug shot of her estranged husband, Joshua, had become the image the world associated with America's newest millionaire.

Lahti, who worked at a bank in her small hometown of Rathdrum, Idaho, went into hiding. She gave no public statements about the lottery winnings, quit her job, asked the media not to contact her, disconnected her phone numbers, and eventually moved from Rathdrum without a trace.

Brad Wilde, who managed the convenience store in Post Falls, Idaho, where Lahti bought her winning ticket, said that she and her husband had left town and no one knew where they went. Wilde told ABC News earlier this year that he had heard Lahti moved to Hawaii and her husband to California to go to college, though he wasn't sure he believed either of the rumors.

Workers at Lahti's former employer, Inland Northwest Bank in Post Falls, told ABC that Lahti had quit and no longer lived nearby.

Lahti and her husband had both been arrested for battery in 2003, though the charges were later dropped. Joshua Lahti had been arrested more than a dozen times on drug, battery, and alcohol charges. At the time of the lottery drawing, the two were separated but still legally married.

Now, Lahti has begun to adjust to life as a lottery-winning millionaire.

In May, the mother of two attended a fundraiser at her former place of employment, Inland Northwest Bank in Post Falls. She refused to be interviewed by the local newspaper, which called the event Lahti's first public appearance since winning the jackpot.

"Privacy is still her big concern and, as a result, I don't ask any questions that would violate that privacy," bank employee Ron Jacobson told the local newspaper, the Coeur D'Alene Press. "I did tell her that she looked and sounded happier and less stressed than the last time we spoke."

Lahti's story may serve as a cautionary tale to lottery hopefuls buying tickets to today's drawing of the Powerball jackpot. A flood of media scrutiny, requests for monetary hand-outs, and publicity typically floods winners of the major lottery games.

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#2 Detection

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 13:25

I wouldn't tell anyone if I won even £1m, the worms even crawl out of the woodwork when Windows 8 arrives on Technet thinking I still have an account, I can just imagine who would turn up if I won the lottery !

#3 Growled

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:38

I sure wouldn't want to win anything if I had to live like that.

#4 DocM

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:58

I'd hold off claiming or saying a word until getting a plan totether with my lawyer, banker and accountant.

#5 +FiB3R

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:06

I'd be too busy sailing around the world on my gold yacht to worry about any of that crap back home lol :D

#6 sidroc

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 05:33

If I won I wouldn't tell anyone, but I would find ways to help people that I know need help, even if it was through anonymous means. I would live fairly close to how I live now, and would have nice things, but keep them somewhat separate from my everyday life.

It's a matter of safety, and a matter of wanting to live a normal life, but without the stresses. I would even keep working the same way I work now to be honest. I like doing the jobs I do when I'm working.


If you were lucky enough to live in a state that didn't require disclosure that could work.

#7 szo

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 05:50

I'd hold off claiming or saying a word until getting a plan totether with my lawyer, banker and accountant.


and also hiring a bodyguard / security!

#8 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 05:59

If you were lucky enough to live in a state that didn't require disclosure that could work.


How can they force you to publicly disclose winnings? To the IRS, sure... But to the general public? Stuff that...

#9 x-scratch

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 06:08

i would move out of the city & county i live in for sure & i would make sure my mom & older sister got money

#10 sidroc

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:56

How can they force you to publicly disclose winnings? To the IRS, sure... But to the general public? Stuff that...


Several states force the lottery commission itself to disclose the winner. This was supposedly done to show that the winners weren't family of lottery staff and that the lottery was transparent. If I won, I would secure a military grade armored SUV with the whole works on it including things like complete cabin airlock with its own air supply etc, this would be my daily driving vehicle. My house would be a concrete bunker 50 feet under ground with a Fiber optic internet connections buried straight into it :D:D:D. As for my gaming computer :D I would contact Intel, Nvidia, Asus, Etc, and have them build me a custom setup with one of the kind hardware. The remainder would go into dividend paying investments in which I would give at least 20% of the dividend each month to a charitable organization.

#11 OP Hum

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 13:21

^ Don't forget the Lottery wants publicity !

#12 Growled

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:47

^ Don't forget the Lottery wants publicity !


No doubt.

#13 vetDirtyLarry

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:54

Several states force the lottery commission itself to disclose the winner. This was supposedly done to show that the winners weren't family of lottery staff and that the lottery was transparent.

I forget where I watched or heard about it, but they stated this is indeed the case in a lot of states, and apparently the way around it was to set up a trust fund or something along those lines.

#14 cactusdr

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 20:11

Very true. You can set up a trust and have your attorney (or trustee) go and claim the winnings. But a trust also lists its beneficiaries and if you're the sole beneficiary of the trust, some very resourceful person can find that out.
If you plan on winning a lottery, live in Deleware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota or Ohio. Those are the only states where winners can remain anonymous. The other 45 states require disclosure of winners.