Two Maryland teachers and a school office worker who pooled their money to buy lottery tickets won a share of the record-breaking Mega Millions...
Two Maryland teachers and a school office worker who pooled their money to buy lottery tickets won a share of the record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot and will split a $105 million prize, lottery officials said Tuesday.
Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said that the trio each contributed $20 and bought 60 tickets from three different locations. After taxes, they’ll receive nearly $35 million each. Martino said they want to remain anonymous.
Three winning tickets were sold nationally, with a total jackpot of $656 million before taxes. The others were in Kansas and Illinois. A winner in Kansas also decided to remain anonymous. Nobody has come forward in Illinois.
Until Tuesday, most publicity surrounding the Mega Millions drawing had focused on Mirlande Wilson, a 37-year-old Maryland woman who claimed to be holding the winning ticket. Wilson now says she misplaced the ticket. Her attorney said Monday that someone who contributed to the pool of money she used to buy lottery tickets has filed a lawsuit against her.
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The Maryland winners, who call themselves “The Three Amigos,” are a special-education teacher, an elementary-school teacher and a school administrator who all worked multiple jobs to make ends meet.
“If it can’t be you, these people are precisely the people you would want to see win,” Martino said.
One of them, a woman in her 20s, spread the tickets on her floor to check them immediately after the drawing March 30. When she realized one was a winner, she called her friends, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s.
The second woman told lottery officials she had forgotten about the drawing and went to sleep, but was awakened by her phone ringing and ringing. She didn’t believe the other winners at first, thinking it was an early April Fool’s joke. They signed copies of the winning ticket and one woman put the winning ticket in a safe at her mother’s home. The trio also contacted a financial adviser, who got in touch with lottery officials.
When they went to lottery headquarters on Monday — the last day of spring break for many Maryland schools — one woman carried the winning ticket in an envelope in her purse.