Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Mega Millions mystery over: 3 real winners come forward in Maryland - McDonald's Undocumented Worker not the real winner as she claimed
Three teachers from Maryland have finally come forward to claim their Mega Millions jackpot prize.
The trio stashed the winning ticket in a safe after the record-breaking $656 million drawing last month -- and sat back to watch as a kooky Baltimore woman claimed to be the winner.
The women -- who call themselves “the three amigos” but want to remain anonymous -- were “privately laughing” about the hoopla surrounding Mirlande Wilson, a mother of seven and McDonald’s worker who said she won, said Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino.
“When in fact they knew where the (winning) ticket was,” he said.
The teachers’ winning ticket was one of three sold nationally, and they took their prize in one lump sum of $34.99 million each after taxes, but say they have no plans to give up their day jobs.
They bought 60 tickets for $20 each, and one of those matched the winning numbers 2, 4, 23, 38, 46 and the Mega Ball: 23.
One of the group bought all the tickets at three locations and laid them all out on the floor on the night of the March 30 draw.
When she realized they hit the jackpot, she immediately called her friends to tell them they were multi-millionaires.
“That evening I forgot about the drawing and went to sleep,” one of the winning women told lottery officials.
“It was around 11:30 p.m. and my phone just kept ringing and ringing. I finally decided to answer it, thinking something was wrong.”
One is an elementary teacher, one is a special education teacher and the third provides administrative support in a school. They all had part-time jobs to supplement their incomes and have joked about getting matching tattoos of the winning numbers.
“It's so crazy that even celebrities are tweeting about this,” one of the winners told lottery officials.
“Even Britney Spears tweeted a congratulations message to the winners.”
They stashed the ticket in a safe belonging to one of their mother’s until finally coming forward to claim their grand prize Monday.
They also watched the frenzy around lottery faker Wilson, who held a news conference claiming she was the Maryland winner.
As the Haitian-born mom of seven’s lie was exposed, the three real winners hired attorneys and contacted financial advisers to ensure their money and privacy were protected.
The three all plan to finish out the school year, and one of the winners wants to pay for his daughter’s college education and buy his sister a house.
A second winner said she wants to backpack through Europe and the third hopes to visit the wine country in Italy.
“If it can’t be you, these are precisely the people you want to see win the lottery,” Martino said.
A winning ticket was also sold in Kansas to an anonymous winner and a multi-millionaire is still at large in Illinois.