Rumored Maryland Mega Millions winner faces controversy
ABC7, AP — The Maryland woman who claimed to be one of the three winners of the Mega Millions jackpot in a New York Post story Monday has finally spoken.
"I have to find the ticket to claim to make sure it's the right thing to do with it," Wilson said. "It's confusing, very confusing right now."
The New York Post reported Monday that it found the Maryland lotto winner — a Haitian-American immigrant, McDonald’s worker and single mother of seven.
The alleged winner, Mirlande Wilson, and her family played a cat-and-mouse game with the press all day Monday.
The 37-year-old Wilson told the Post that she has the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket. Wilson works at a McDonald’s just blocks from the 7-Eleven where the ticket was purchased.
According to the Post, Wilson was a part of a McDonald's lottery pool, but claims the winning ticket was bought separately and is hers alone.
Wilson said a fight with her coworkers over the ticket is a "big problem." She declined to answer a question about whether she has secured a lawyer.
"I"m shocked right now," she said.
"We live in a poverty-stricken neighborhood. It'd be nice to see somebody, like one of us, get some money," said Debbie Eanes, Wilson's neighbor.
Residents of the neighborhood would love to know is she really won the prize, and customers at the McDonald's where she works are rooting for her.
"She's a nice person, so to have somebody who is a nice person win it makes it even better," said Stefon Craig.
Meanwhile, the 7-Eleven that sold the ticket is abuzz with activity.
“I should have won because I come here often,” says Caroline Bryant. “And I’m just sorry it wasn't me.”
Three tickets - one each in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland - will split the jackpot, which officials said Monday was higher than previously estimated. It is now at $656 million, after sales from the 44 state lotteries were totaled, up from the previously reported $640 million. That means each winner would receive roughly $218 million apiece before taxes.
Winners in all three states have several months - in the case of Kansas, a year - to claim the prize. Both Maryland and Kansas allow winners to remain anonymous, though the winner in Illinois will be identified. The three tickets matched all six numbers: 2-4-23-38-46 and the Mega Ball, 23.
One hundred million Americans spent one and a half billion dollars playing Mega Millions.
The winning ticket in Illinois was sold at a convenience store in the small town of Red Bud, south of St. Louis. Kansas officials had not yet revealed the store where that state's winning ticket was purchased.