Mirlande Wilson

‘Winning’ Mega Millions jackpot ticket sparks controversy

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A Maryland, US woman claims to have one of the three winning lottery tickets from a world record $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, but her work colleagues say the ticket would be part of their syndicate.

Mirlande Wilson, 37, told the New York Post she hid the winning ticket somewhere at the Baltimore McDonald’s where she works.

Maryland lottery officials said no-one has yet come forward to claim the prize.

During a press conference earlier this week, her lawyer Edward Smith Jr asked reporters staking out his client’s house to leave her alone, according to the BBC.

“Let’s be human about this,” Mr Smith said, adding Ms Wilson’s blood pressure had risen because of the attention. “It’s just money, people.”

Three tickets – one in Maryland, one in Kansas and one in Illinois – matched the winning numbers drawn last week in the Mega Millions jackpot worth an incredible $640 million, the world’s biggest-ever lottery prize.

According to the Post, the boss of the McDonald’s outlet Ms Wilson works at gave Ms Wilson money to buy extra tickets for a group pool.

She claims she bought those tickets, but also some for herself, and that the winning ticket came from the latter set.

“We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself,” she told the Post.

One of 15 members of the lottery syndicate, Suleiman Osman Husein, says the group does not believe her.

“We each paid $5. She took everybody’s money!” she told the Post.

Mr Smith said the mother of seven had been thrust into the spotlight by her colleague’s accusations, and that he had no idea if the ticket was legitimate as he had not yet seen it.

“I can’t say with any certainty that this ticket exists,” he said. “You never say that it’s so until you’ve seen it with your own eyes.”

A Maryland lottery official is dubious about the entire story.

“There’s nothing to substantiate anything,” Carole Everett, a spokeswoman for the Maryland lottery, told ABC News. “It’s probably not this person.”

The states of Maryland and Kansas allow the ticket holders to remain anonymous. Illinois will however identify the winner.

In March, a construction worker was ordered by a New Jersey jury to share $38.5 million with five work colleagues after he won with their combined tickets and kept the money for himself.

The worker, Americo Lopes, always maintained he too had bought the winning ticket separately.

Lana Galea View Comments

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