B.C. family finally collects $50 million lotto jackpot after trying to remain anonymous

Lottery companies depend on publicizing winners to show that real people win these vast sums of money.
Lottery companies depend on publicizing winners to show that real people win these vast sums of money. Supplied photo from British Columbia Lottery Corp.

What would you do to collect a $50 million jackpot?

One thing is for sure: some people have done more to claim a chocolate bar than a British Columbia family has in claiming their fortune.

The lottery winners wouldn’t even give their names.

Langley, B.C., residents Fred, Annand and Eric Mayrhofer didn’t claim their winnings until a year and a half after they hit Lotto Max gold, because they tried to maintain their anonymity.

Public interest in who won grew rampant, as no one stepped forward until just a few short days before the winning ticket was to expire.

The reason for the delayed claiming? They didn’t want to have their names or faces publicized. “We are a quiet family,” Fred Mayrhofer told the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. (BCLC)

You’d think after winning a huge jackpot you would be a little less quiet, or at least loud enough to claim your prize.

The family came up with a plan in order to receive their winnings anonymously by claiming them through a trust. However, that plan didn’t work out as the BCLC told them it was a no-go: they had to step forward and claim the prize publicly.

Lottery companies depend on publicizing winners to show that real people win these vast sums of money. BCLC President and CEO Jim Lightbody made a statement about the Mayrhofer’s win on the BCLC website that read:

“Throughout this process we have been guided by the principle of maintaining integrity of the lottery system – which we uphold by ensuring prizes are paid to the right people and by publicizing winners.”

See: Can lottery winners remain anonymous?

Moreover, it’s in the BCLC rules and conditions that the winners have to publicly claim their prize. While the corporation will never provide the winner’s address or phone number to the media, they do require that the winner allow them to publish their name, as well as have their picture taken with the prize money.

Consent to publication is given when the lottery ticket is bought by an individual or group. If they refuse to have their name published or have a picture taken with the prize, the BCLC may review their request to remain anonymous. However, if the corporation decides the winner has to go public, then the winner would have to do so or they may be forced to forfeit the prize.

In fact, every provincial lottery corporation in Canada requires that a lottery winner allow them to publish their name and a photo.

Sadly, for the Mayrhofer’s that is, the delay cost them $500,000 in interest and Fred Mayrhofer said he now wishes he had claimed the prize earlier.

So what do the newly minted multi-millionaires plan to do with their windfall?

Fred Mayrhofer said his wife plans to renovate and buy new furniture for the home they owned for 36 years, and that he “hoped” they could afford the expense.

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