A black man in New York City is fighting to stay off the radar after he won $5 million dollars in the lottery but learned that in order to collect his winnings, he has to pose for publicity photos.
The 24-year-old man fears that folks from his old hood will hound him for money if they find out his identity, reports the New York Post, and he’s trying to keep his newfound fortune a secret.
“In claiming the prize, winners must sign a claim agreeing to attend the press conference,” said Brad Maione, spokesman for the state Gaming Commission, which runs the New York Lottery. “We don’t have any provisions for anonymity.”
That’s bad news for the Bronx man whose lottery win came right on time—the former Little Caesar’s employee was unemployed when he bought the lucky scratch-off ticket at a liquor store.
His lucky day
According to reports, the man had pretty much forgotten about buying the ticket until it fell out of his pocket one day while he was in the bathroom.
“I scratched from front to back. Five — it had a comma, so I’m like, it’s probably $5,000,” the 24-year-old told the newspaper. “Then it had another comma. My mind blew. I put the ticket down and I just started jumping all over the house. I’m like, ‘I just won $5 million!”
However, he soon found out that he would have to go public, hold an over-sized check and allow the media and officials to take his pictures to be posted publicly. It’s something all winners have to do in the New York lottery if they win over $1 million dollars.
“Everybody who knows me knows I’m too nice. And I don’t want to be taken advantage of,” he added.
“I’m sure he’ll be forever hounded,” said the man’s attorney, Andrew Plasse. “It’s a really bad idea to identify people. They might not get harmed right away, but one, two years down the road, they might get robbed.”
The man has a 4-year-old daughter that he would like to splurge on—that is whenever he settles this issue and gets his cash in hand.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It still doesn’t register,” he said of winning the lottery. “Maybe it will when I have the money.”