Lawyer vows to reveal mystery behind lotto jackpot
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A New York lawyer representing a trust that turned in a lottery ticket hours before the one-year deadline for a $14.3 million jackpot said Wednesday he will come to Iowa to explain the mysterious circumstances, including who will get the money and why they waited to claim it.
In his first comments on one of the nation's biggest lottery mysteries, Crawford Shaw of Bedford, N.Y., told The Associated Press he is not the winner himself but is acting as the trustee for Hexam Investments Trust. Asked who were the members of the trust, Shaw said, "That's what I'm going to reveal to everybody" when he meets with Iowa Lottery officials in Des Moines next week. He promised to bring and release key documents, including a copy of the trust agreement.
Shaw signed the winning Hot Lotto ticket, which was turned in to Iowa Lottery headquarters by a Des Moines law firm he retained less than two hours before last week's deadline. Lottery officials feared that no one would claim the ticket and were shocked when it surfaced with 110 minutes left to spare before its expiration. They say it's unprecedented in the 26-year history of the lottery for a winner not to immediately reveal their identity and for a big jackpot to be claimed so close to the deadline.
Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said Wednesday that investigators had an initial conversation with Shaw, a 76-year-old international lawyer and business consultant, and were planning to meet him soon in-person to get their questions answered. She reiterated that Lottery officials will not pay the money until they are certain "there has been nothing amiss with the purchase of this ticket or with the possession of this ticket up to and including the time it was presented."
Shaw said the meeting would likely happen next Tuesday or Wednesday.
"I think we have an interesting situation. I think everything will be OK when all the facts are put on the table," he said in a telephone interview.
Shaw scoffed at claims made by several individuals that the ticket was stolen from them. Lottery officials say they are investigating the claims, which are routine for big jackpots that receive publicity.
"Crazy people are going on the Internet and saying the lottery ticket was stolen," he said. "I didn't steal for anybody."
Neubauer said she does not believe Lottery officials have identified the person seen on surveillance footage purchasing the ticket on Dec. 29, 2010, at a Des Moines gas station near two busy interstates. She said investigators would "follow the trail" of the ticket from the time it was presented back to the person who bought it.
The winner has to decide within 60 days whether to take annuity payments valued at $14.3 million or a cash payment of $10.75 million.