Mystery surrounds Idaho winner of $190 million

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  1. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Mystery surrounds Idaho winner of $190 million - Washington Times


    RATHDRUM, Idaho (AP) — Holly Lahti burst into the spotlight a week ago in a feel-good story about a single mother who won a $190 million Mega Millions jackpot.

    Then came the mugshot: a thin young woman with disheveled brown hair, sporting a black eye and cuts and bruises on her face and neck. It turned out she was separated from a man who court records indicated had abused her, and now has a possible claim to some of the money through a quirk in Idaho law.

    Lahti, 29, went underground with her two daughters immediately after learning she had won half of a $380 million jackpot in the Jan. 4 drawing. She has not been seen or heard in public since, though she has posted a message to her suddenly large group of Facebook followers.

    The mugshot was taken after Lahti and her husband, Josh Lahti, both were arrested during a domestic dispute in 2003. The charges were later dropped, and the couple has long been separated.

    Josh Lahti said he did not know Holly had won the lottery until told by a reporter from The Associated Press last week.

    "That's awesome! I won't have to pay child support!" he said upon learning his wife was rich.

    As it turns out, the husband could be entitled to a chunk of the winnings because he and Lahti never divorced and were never legally separated for that matter. Idaho's murky law on the issue requires a divorce filing to grant separation, which is a key factor in splitting up assets between spouses.

    While the lawyers sort out the issue in the months ahead, Holly Lahti can rejoice in the fact that her troubled past has given way to riches beyond her wildest dreams.

    She quit her job as a customer service representative for a bank after winning the jackpot, then she asked family and friends not to talk with reporters. She did not appear at the Jan. 12 press conference in Boise in which her good fortune was revealed.

    Her Facebook page appears to have been scrubbed of most personal information, other than a couple of messages.

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