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Maryland Lottery officials inundated with Mega Millions rumors

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Maryland Lottery officials inundated with Mega Millions rumors
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Lottery says rumors of a McDonald's employee winning Mega Millions most likely false

Maryland lottery officials were inundated Monday with hundreds of calls fueled by rumors about the identity of the Baltimore County shopper who will share in the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot.

"Everyone says they know who the winner is," said lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett. "It's their cousin. It's a person who works at their doctor's office. It's the guy up the street who mows the lawn. We're not going to chase gossip."

Lottery officials say they've heard around 15 tall tales associated with the identity of the person who bought the winning ticket for Friday's drawing at a 7-Eleven in Milford Mill.

Several hoaxes have flown across the Internet after Facebook and Twitter users doctored fake winning tickets and posted them online.

But the most persistent rumor, lottery officials say, stemmed from a Monday New York Post article — which was repeated by media outlets across the country — that stated that the Maryland winner was an employee of a McDonald's just down Liberty Road from the 7-Eleven. The newspaper reported that the employee, Mirlande Wilson, 37, of Baltimore's Westport neighborhood, had bought tickets for a pool of co-workers and was fighting with them over whether the "winning" ticket was bought for her alone or for the pool.

Wilson initially told the paper she had won the jackpot but later changed her story: "I don't know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. I recognized some of [them]," she reportedly said.

She could not immediately produce the winning ticket but said she would contact lottery officials with it on Monday. As of Monday evening, lottery officials said they had heard from no winner and dismissed Wilson's story as likely nothing more than unsubstantiated gossip.

Wilson's cell phone voice mailbox was full Monday afternoon when The Sun repeatedly tried to contact her.

"We've heard so much gossip," Everett says. "That one just happened to make the newspaper. We do not expect this woman to come in."

The mystery winner has up to 182 days after the drawing to claim the prize, which will be $218.6 million split between the three unknown winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.

Lottery director Stephen Martino said Maryland officials have video of the winning ticket being purchased. However, a differential between the clocks on the ticket distribution system and the video mean officials cannot pinpoint the winning buyer using video alone, he said.

Martino said winners usually claim their jackpots within the first week but can take longer. He said he's seen red-eyed, excited winners report to his offices the morning after the drawing, but also had lawyers call on behalf of clients days later. Most big jackpot winners have remained anonymous, he said. There have been eight Mega Millions winners in Maryland history.

One winner who did go public, Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett, formerly of Dundalk, walked away with $32.6 million after he split a Mega Millions jackpot in 2007. He now says the winners should avoid taking the lump sum and remain anonymous.

"The American people seem to think that just because you win money you're supposed to share it with everyone else," he says. "I have thousands and thousands of emails explaining that thinking process. My favorite came from the person who wrote $34,000 in the subject line, and then included just their name and address. That was it. No explanation, no story. Just $34,000."

Martino said he now worries false reports could cause the real winner to think someone else had won.

"Could there be some truth to one of these rumors? There could be," he says. "But it's really not healthy to get involved with all this speculation."

Baltimore Sun

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85 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by ressuccess.
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New York's avatar - 103h4yr
NYC
United States
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October 19, 2011
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Posted: April 2, 2012, 9:19 pm - IP Logged

OMG, the media frenzy/gossip continues! When will it end lol. Crying

No seriously though, the winner should come forward or better yet, wait 3 weeks. I'm just glad that ridiculous Mc. Donalds story is over.

I just feel bad that those pool of people actually thought they won. That lady is wrong with messing with people's emotions. Anyways, now that the focus is off her, they should just relax and be patient for a winner.

The media/internet won't give it a break but I guess that's how it is when someone is a lucky winner of an historical jackpot. That's a lot of pressure.

    savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
    adelaide sa
    Australia
    Member #37136
    April 11, 2006
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    Posted: April 2, 2012, 9:20 pm - IP Logged

    its a 70 yo lawyer type from new york.

    2014 winnings

    JAN -$48.50;  FEB  -$77.5; MAR -$18.05;  APR -$96.05 MAY -$61.10; JUN $-85; JUL $-88.9;AUG -$144.10

    yearly grand totalspent = 938.05won= 318.8-$619.25


      mightwin's avatar - questns

      United States
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      January 5, 2011
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      Posted: April 2, 2012, 9:49 pm - IP Logged

      I read that in Maryland you can claim anonymously, so we should never know who the winner is right?, unless they are an idiot

        time*treat's avatar - radar

        United States
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        March 30, 2005
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        Posted: April 2, 2012, 10:21 pm - IP Logged

        "Everyone says they know who the winner is"  Like that info would do them any personal good by passing it on. Hit With Stick

        Facebook and Twitter users doctored fake winning tickets and posted them online.  It's all fun-and-games until someone's home address is tweeted. BS

        an employee of a McDonald's ...  ... is probably going to get kicked out of that pool, real soon now. It'd be quite funny if they won soon afterwards. LOL

        One winner who did go public, Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett, formerly of Dundalk, walked away with $32.6 million after he split a Mega Millions jackpot in 2007. He now says the winners should avoid taking the lump sum and remain anonymous.

        "formerly" of Dundalk ...

        Someone around here had a tagline about winners either a) remaining anonymous or b) wishing they had. Yes Nod

        In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
        Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

          Avatar
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          SAN FRANCISCO
          United States
          Member #125739
          March 30, 2012
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          Posted: April 2, 2012, 10:29 pm - IP Logged

          Maybe the "alleged winner" skipped town until the heat dies down from the story. She can wait a month or so and slip back into town and claim the ticket anonimously

          Given the publicity she has received, I am sure that she has received multiple offers for legal representation. She might be keeping quiet while her legal team strategizes her approach to claiming the winnings.

          If in fact she holds the winning ticket, I am not sure what on earth pocessed her to speak with The Post

            ladygirl99's avatar - candle
            Solon, OH
            United States
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            January 7, 2004
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            Posted: April 2, 2012, 10:42 pm - IP Logged

            Maybe the "alleged winner" skipped town until the heat dies down from the story. She can wait a month or so and slip back into town and claim the ticket anonimously

            Given the publicity she has received, I am sure that she has received multiple offers for legal representation. She might be keeping quiet while her legal team strategizes her approach to claiming the winnings.

            If in fact she holds the winning ticket, I am not sure what on earth pocessed her to speak with The Post

            I don't think she is telling the truth, How could you not know if you have the winning ticket or not. smh!!

              dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
              Oklahoma
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              Posted: April 2, 2012, 10:47 pm - IP Logged

              "I just feel bad that those pool of people actually thought they won. That lady is wrong with messing with people's emotions" I Agree! New York...

              I Love Pink & Green 1908

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #122696
                February 6, 2012
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                Posted: April 2, 2012, 10:47 pm - IP Logged

                Whoever won this is probably counting the days until the wire transfer can be completed and they can disappear out of the country. 

                The Illinois and Kansas winners must be loving all the crap that is going on in Maryland. No one is even talking about them right now. 

                  haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                  egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
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                  Posted: April 2, 2012, 11:02 pm - IP Logged

                  Whoever won this is probably counting the days until the wire transfer can be completed and they can disappear out of the country. 

                  The Illinois and Kansas winners must be loving all the crap that is going on in Maryland. No one is even talking about them right now. 

                         That will buy them time, but theres still a lot of noise about a small IL. town being put on the map,

                  i have to wonder if the kansas one will make an even better story,

                  last i checked it has not been narrowed down to one county yet.

                  Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                    Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
                    Clarksville
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                    July 15, 2002
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                    Posted: April 3, 2012, 12:55 am - IP Logged

                    "I just feel bad that those pool of people actually thought they won. That lady is wrong with messing with people's emotions" I Agree! New York...

                    What if she is not lying but instead is trying to find one of her "relatives" to cash in the ticket so she won't have to share.  Jester Laugh

                    If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

                    You never know when you will get another hit.

                      RedStang's avatar - lotto zpse7a2fd55.jpg
                      Dutchess NY
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                      Member #121966
                      January 21, 2012
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                      Posted: April 3, 2012, 1:15 am - IP Logged

                      Just saw the 656 update. Whoever it is gets a 5 mill doll bonus. Basically a lotto itself.

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                        SAN FRANCISCO
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                        Posted: April 3, 2012, 1:33 am - IP Logged

                        Perhaps she can have a relative claim the money using an irrevocable trust granting all the winnings to her less the $5MM fee to the grantor for services rendered? Wink

                          Piaceri's avatar - sarsony1
                          Wannabe Won Percenter
                          Republic of Texas
                          United States
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                          January 9, 2008
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                          Posted: April 3, 2012, 1:45 am - IP Logged

                          It was a rich white racist republican investment banker from rhode island just passing through baltimore and decided to buy a singe mm qp along with this perrier.

                           

                          PS  it was the first time he's ever played any lottery game. ever.

                           

                          PPS in reality, he just forclosed on 15 homes in the area, but didn't want to let on that is why he was in the area.

                          face

                          singlewinnersinglewinnersinglewinner   

                            Avatar
                            Elgin, IL
                            United States
                            Member #93544
                            July 2, 2010
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                            Posted: April 3, 2012, 2:45 am - IP Logged

                             Americans give anyone fame these days, so people will do anything to get their name out there. She might get a Reality show. God, I wish I knew someone in Red Bud and was visiting them at that exact time.No Pity!