The story from the three men, who work for the Greenwich-based wealth management Belpointe Asset Management, was that they had stopped in a gas station near Stamford, Conn., and split a single lottery ticket. When they discovered they had won, they set up the Putnam Avenue Family Trust to handle the winnings.
Almost immediately doubts were raised about this story. Would three wealth management professionals split a lottery ticket three ways? A person familiar with the gas station in question described it as "sketchy" and said she was skeptical these guys would even patronize it.
There was speculation that the trio could be acting on behalf of someone else who, for some reason, could not publicly claim the ticket. Perhaps an illegal immigrant. Or someone who wanted to hide assets from tax-collectors or an unhappy spouse.
Now a neighbor of one of the men has told Kevin Roose of DealBook that he was told on Tuesday that the trust was established for the benefit of another person.
A friend of Bandon Lacoff's family told ABC News that the men were doing "a tremendous service" for the person who had actually purchased the lottery ticket.
The three men have hired a public relations firm that has denied the allegations of a fourth man, saying “there are a total of three trustees and there is no anonymous fourth participant,” according to DealBook.
“This Trust, with its three trustees, has been established to manage the winnings in the most practical and expedient way possible so that we can achieve our strategic goal of helping those who can best benefit from these funds,” the representative said in a statement quoted by DealBook.
The men have said that a significant amount of the winnings will go to charity, including a charity for military veterans.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut Lottery Commission released a statement.
“The CT Lottery processed the November 2, 2011 Powerball jackpot claim in accordance with applicable rules and integrity standards,” the statement said. “It is not uncommon for Powerball winners to be identified as individuals, trusts, partnerships or other legal entities.”
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