Employees at a McDonald’s in Maryland are outraged at a co-worker who claims she won $105million in Mega Millions but says as she bought the ticket for herself she will not share her winnings.
Workers at the fast food outlet pooled their money for tickets for the biggest lottery in world history but Mirlande Wilson, 37, claims she herself bought one of the three tickets nationwide that will split a record $656 million payout.
'We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself. [The ‘winning’ ticket] wasn’t on the group plan,' Wilson 37, told The New York Post.
The winning numbers are read out on national television
Real winner? Mirlande Wilson works at a McDonald's in Maryland and claims the ticket she bought was separate from the pool tickets with her coworkers
'I was in the group, but this was separate. The winning ticket was a separate ticket,' the single mother of seven said as she and her fiancé left her home.
The Haitian immigrant claimed she had hidden the winning ticket and would present it to lottery officials today.
But later she started to backtrack saying she wasn't sure whether she had won or not.
A ticket for the Mega Million US lottery with a record jackpot of $540 million
'I don’t know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. I recognized some of [them],'’ she said. 'I don’t know why’' people are saying differently. 'I’m going to go to the lottery office [today]. I bought some tickets separately.'
With winning tickets also sold in Illinois and Kansas, a single Maryland winner would get an after-tax lump sum of $105 million, or $5.59 million a year for 26 years.
Wilson’s co-workers — who make little more than $7.50 an hour — are furious over the notion.
Denise Metzger, manager of a store in Red Bud, Ohio where a winning ticket was bought, poses with a novelty cheque - but the store will get a real pay-out of $500,000
'She can’t do this to us!' said Suleiman Osman Husein, a shift manager and one of 15 members in the pool. 'We each paid $5. She took everybody’s money!'
A man identifying himself as the boyfriend of a McDonald’s manager named Layla, who was part of the pool, said Wilson bought tickets for the group at the 7-Eleven in Milford Mill, where the winning ticket was sold.
The group’s tickets — along with a list of those who contributed to the pool — were left in an office safe at the fast food outlet, said the man, who gave only his first name, Allen, as he stood next to Layla. She declined to comment.
Stephen Martino, director of the Maryland Lottery, speaks outside the 7-Eleven store in Baltimore where a winning ticket was bought
Then, late Friday, before the night’s drawing, the owner of the McDonald’s, Birul Desai, gave Wilson $5 to buy more tickets for the pool on her way home from work, and she went back to the 7-Eleven and bought them, Allen said.
Wilson took those tickets home with her, Allen said.
But Wilson insisted yesterday that she had bought the second batch with an unidentified friend — not for the pool — and that the winning ticket was among them.
A day earlier, a delirious Wilson had called co-workers to break the news — tellingly used the first-person singular.
Will lightning strike twice? Selling lottery tickets at the Baltimore store which produced a winner on Friday
'I won! I won!' she cried, Allen said.
Another colleague, Davon Wilson, no relation, said he was there when Mirlande Wilson called.
'She said, ‘Turn on the news.’ She said she had won. I thought it was a joke or something. She doesn’t seem like a person who’d do this,' he said.
Allan said he and Layla went to Wilson’s home and pounded on the door for 20 minutes until she finally came out.
A woman buys Mega Millions lottery tickets at a shop on New York City's upper west side of Manhattan
'These people are going to kill you. It’s not worth your life!' Allen said he told her.
'All right! All right! I’ll share, but I can’t find the ticket right now,' she finally said, according to Allen.
If Wilson won, and if it was with a pooled work ticket, the situation would be shockingly similar to that of New Jersey man Americo Lopes, who tried to screw five former colleagues after hitting a $24million jackpot before a jury ordered him to spread the wealth.
Yohannes Michael, a clerk at the 7-Eleven where Wilson bought the tickets, expressed doubts about her story when he said yesterday that lottery officials have reviewed the store’s video and believe that a man bought the winning ticket.
A rep for the Lottery would not confirm that.
The three jackpot-winning tickets were purchased in Red Bud, Illinois, Baltimore County, Maryland, and Kansas, where state lottery officials have said only that the ticket was sold in the northeast part of the state.
In Illinois, the Chicago Tribune said a second jackpot winner, who also has yet to step forward, bought a quick-pick ticket at a gas station and convenience store in Red Bud, a community of about 3,700 in southwestern Illinois.
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