As word circulates throughout the state about the discovery of a triumphant Powerball ticket, boasting a staggering $842 million jackpot, eager inquiries emerge: “Who is the fortunate winner?”
Michigan’s state regulations mandate the public disclosure of the identities of multi-state game winners, such as Powerball. Nevertheless, astute participants are aware of a clever workaround that allows them to maintain anonymity and avoid public scrutiny.
While opting for a trust may seem like a logical approach to claim the Powerball prize anonymously in Michigan, state regulations disallow this avenue. However, an alternative strategy exists—players can establish a lottery club to collectively claim the prize.
Under this arrangement, only one member of the group assumes the role of the public-facing representative for the entire entity.
This designated individual is publicly named and represents the group, while the identities of the remaining members remain confidential.
This tactic was successfully employed in Michigan in 2021 when the Wolverine FLL lottery club secured a $1.05 billion Mega Millions prize.
In this instance, the club enlisted the services of Florida-based attorney Kurt D. Palouse’s, Esq., who acted as the public face for the group.
Panouses efficiently managed media requests and officially claimed the prize on behalf of all involved members.
The legality of this approach was even confirmed by lottery officials in consultation with Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, affirming the viability of maintaining anonymity through a lottery club.
To establish a lottery club in Michigan, members need to formally inform the Lottery of their intention to organize as a group.
This involves confirming the members within the group and selecting a name for the club. Importantly, clubs must consist of at least two members and have the flexibility to be formed at any time, even after winning a jackpot.
Upon approval of the club, it gains the ability to claim prizes on behalf of all its members. Notably, lottery clubs are not bound by equal distribution requirements, allowing the group to decide on a mutually agreeable division of the winnings.
In this way, the recent Powerball winner could engage a legal representative like Panouses, establish a lottery club, compensate the representative with a portion of the prize, and retain the remaining amount without revealing their identities to the public.
It is crucial to note that if any club members have outstanding taxes or debts owed to the state, these obligations will be deducted from the jackpot before the funds are released to the club.
Additionally, there are mandatory income tax withholdings, approximately 24% for federal tax and a 4.25% state tax in Michigan.
Although state law currently requires the winner to come forward publicly, a bill introduced last year would allow winners to stay anonymous without having to circumvent the current laws.
House Bill 4048 was introduced in October, and passed in the House in November by a vote of 106-3. The bill was then sent to the Senate where a committee hearing will determine the next steps.
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