Joe Besecker says he has no idea who's behind Emerald Legacy Trust, the entity that claimed a record-setting Powerball prize last week.
But as far as he knows, there's no connection with his company, Emerald Asset Management, or the associated Emerald Foundation, he said Monday in a phone interview with LNP.
"It's not us," he said.
Besecker said Emerald has fielded several hundred inquiries since news broke on Friday that the prize had been claimed. It's become an inconvenience, he said, adding he can see why the real winner would be advised to remain anonymous.
Whoever it is, "we wish them the best," Besecker said.
The winning Powerball ticket in question was sold at the Manheim Speedway, 675 Lancaster Road. The drawing was held March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day.
This appears to be the first time that someone has set up a trust or similar legal entity to accept a jackpot anonymously in Pennsylvania. State Lottery spokesman Gary Miller told LNP in March that he was not aware of any cases here in which a winner had done so.
Normally Pennsylvania’s lottery releases the first and last name of winners along with their town and county of residence, something officials have said is done in the interest of transparency and ensuring public trust.
But Friday afternoon, the lottery announced that the winning Powerball ticket sold at a Speedway just outside Manheim had been claimed by Emerald Legacy Trust, which elected to accept a $274 million cash prize, rather than an annuity valued at $456.7 million.
It was the biggest Powerball prize in Pennsylvania history and the eighth largest nationwide.
Late Monday, the lottery commission confirmed that it had approved the claim and was not aware of anyone contesting it.
In an email to LNP, Miller, the lottery spokesman, wrote that the Emerald Legacy Trust is listed as claimant of record, and that the trustee who signed the claim form is Andrew Santana of the law firm of Fox Rothschild. Attempts to reach Santana were unsuccessful.
The names of the trust’s beneficiaries are not on record with the lottery commission, Miller added.
Earlier this year, a judge in New Hampshire ruled that a woman could collect $560 million in lottery winnings anonymously because previous winners had been victims of harassment and violent threats.
In his email, Miller indicated the New Hampshire case had spurred the lottery commission to reconsider its previous policy on identifying winners.
“This prize claim, as well as a recent case in New Hampshire involving winner anonymity, has provided an opportunity for the Pennsylvania Lottery to revisit its policy regarding the release of winner names,” Miller wrote, without further elaboration.
Earlier Monday, a spokeswoman for state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale indicated the office was keeping an eye on the situation.
“We will monitor what the Lottery decides on the Powerball issue and then make a decision about potential next steps,” the spokeswoman, Susan Woods, wrote in an email to LNP.