That’s one explanation for a weird story where a New York lawyer acting on behalf of holder of a winning lottery ticket purchased at a Des Moines convenience store let the ticket expire rather than revealing the identity of the ticket owner.
The ticket was turned in hours before its expiration by a Des Moines law firm hired by a New York attorney employed by a Belize trust claiming to be the ticket owner. The lottery wouldn’t approve the prize without knowing who was behind the trust, and the trust wasn’t telling. Apparently $14 million wasn’t enough money to get the human(s) behind the trust to come out of the cold.
It’s hard to imagine what would cause somebody to walk away from a $14 million prize. Every speculative theory has a probable weakness:
The ticket was purchased by a fugitive who would go away for a long time if he came forward. The flaw with that is people who turn to a life of crime tend not to think ahead that carefully, or to defer gratification. Our Des Moines criminals don’t tend to be that smart, at least not in this century.
Could unpaid taxes be the problem? Belize is noted as a tax haven, Could the winner be a Des Moines millionaire-next-door who has been stashing money illegally in Belize, didn’t want to draw attention, and was willing to claim the prize only anonymously? If so, it seems like a play gone wrong. Winning the lottery would seem to be a godsend for a tax evader. Suddenly nobody would think twice about your new sports car and big house in Florida.
Also arguing against the rich guy theory is that the ticket was bought at a Quick-Trip in an industrial neighborhood in Northeast Des Moines — not exactly where the local swells hang out.
One theory makes as much sense as any (that is to say, not a whole lot). The convenience store where the ticket was purchased is at an Interstate 80 exit. Recently Iowa’s interstates have been clogged with strange people from out of town. Perhaps a wealthy stranger bought the ticket while his people were fueling up. Maybe a stranger with offshore investments, who seems shy about his wealth, and who knows a thing or two about investing in tax havens. Somebody who could walk away from $14 million and still have plenty left over. Know anybody like that?