Maryland Mega Millions jackpot winners have been identified as three public school employees who pooled their money to play.
While they have chosen to stay anonymous, Maryland Lottery director Stephen Martino revealed the winners were a special education teacher, an elementary school teacher and a school administrator.
The winners – a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s – have worked together for years in Maryland public schools, and told lottery officials they plan to remain in their jobs.
The announcement means that Mirlande Wilson, the McDonald’s worker who hit headlines for claiming she had won the mega payout but had lost the ticket, was not telling the truth about her win.
The Maryland ticket holders won more than $218 million of the record $656 million jackpot that was drawn ten days ago. Two other winning tickets were sold in Kansas and Illinois.
Each of the Maryland winners had contributed $20 and one then bought 60 tickets from three different shops, Stephen Martino said at the press conference. It was the first time they had pooled their cash.
They will now each receive a lump sum payment of $35 million after taxes. One planned to backpack throughout Europe, while another said they could now pay for their daughter’s college education.
The winners, who call themselves “The Three Amigos” and used the name across their winning check, also said they would buy new homes.
Despite their mega win, the teachers said they would not be retiring.
“They said, <<I can’t give up my kids>>,” Stephen Martino said.
It also emerged that two of the winners worked other jobs to help ends meet. One holds two full-time jobs, while another holds two other jobs, Stephen Martino said.
“They were modest, and humbled,” he said, a day after the winnings were claimed.
“These are precisely the people you would want to see win the lottery.”
They know each other through work but do not work in the same school. Lottery officials would not say which district they worked in.
One of the winners said she frequently played the lottery, while the others were less interested – one occasionally bought scratch tickets while the third only bought tickets if the jackpot was high.
On Monday, Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett said the winners claimed the prize at lottery headquarters with a ticket matching all six numbers: 2-4-23-38-46 and the Mega Ball, 23.
Maryland does not require lottery winners to be identified.
The claim means that McDonald’s worker Mirlande Wilson did not win the jackpot, despite publicly announcing she had won the money – but had misplaced the ticket.