More than 181 million people play the Powerball lottery every year in hopes of winning the big jackpot. For one woman in Michigan, the lifelong dream of winning the lottery became a reality. The Michigan resident had the lucky ticket that earned her a $70 million Powerball prize, but claiming her reward came with a few complications. Cristy Davis was hoping to remain anonymous after winning a massive sum of money, but her identity was revealed without her consent. Now, Davis is determined to change the law to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to other lottery winners who wish to keep their winning status a secret.
Michigan state law says that anyone who wins more than $10,000 in local and state lottery games can claim their prize under the cloak of anonymity. The caveat is that winners are unable to remain anonymous if they win a multistate game such as Mega Millions, Powerball, or Lucky for Life. Davis was afraid that revealing her identity would direct unwanted attention her way, but according to her, the law prevented her from concealing her identity if she wanted to cash in on the substantial grand prize. “We tried to get a lawyer to see if I can [claim] anonymously, and they said no,” said Davis. She also revealed that she was apprehensive about her name and likeness appearing in the media. “That was my big thing – I didn’t want to go on TV. I know so many (who’ve) been through so much in life, and it was either that or no money.”
Davis, who hails from Waterford, Michigan, unexpectedly discovered that her identity was being used without her knowledge in local Facebook groups. She even saw that someone was pretending to be her online in order to scam other people out of money. “I’ve seen in (the) ‘Waterford Matters’ Facebook group a post: ‘This is Cristy Davis, and I’m giving away blah blah blah blah blah… Send me this info to this phone number,” she said. “Comments on (the post) are like, ‘They cleaned my bank account out.’ Why would you give somebody your bank account information?” Davis said that people who know her tried to warn people of the online scam, saying, “And then I have friends on there (replying), ‘That’s not her,’ saying I’m not on social media, and I changed my name.”
While Davis wanted to collect her prize money, she wanted nothing to do with the negative aspects that come along with being a Powerball winner and a public figure. “The Lottery people need to know when they expose your name, this is the stuff that happens,” she contended. “The Lottery even emailed me, ‘Oh, we heard you’re out here scamming people.’ I said, ‘You know, that’s what happens when you expose people’s names.”
David insists that winning the lottery can come along with repercussions that people might not be prepared for. Winning millions of dollars can be life-changing, for better or for worse. “They definitely should pass the law that allows (lottery winners) to be anonymous because (the Lottery doesn’t) realize what they do to people,” Davis shared. “(Winning the lottery) is life-changing already. A lot of people do move away, but some people don’t. I didn’t. That’s probably why I felt the way I did the whole time,” she said. “It’s just too good to be real because of everything that comes after.”
David scored big by winning the coveted $70 million Powerball jackpot. She decided to take the one-time lump sum payment of $36 million after taxes.