Mega Millions Lottery Officials Skeptical of ‘Winners’
(WASHINGTON) — Rumors are rampant about the identities of the three Mega-Million lottery winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois who will share the $656 million prize, but lottery officials say that, for now, the rumors are just “wishful thinking.”
The New York Post reported that a Maryland McDonald’s employee, Mirlande Wilson, 37, is claiming to be the winner and that a fight is brewing between her and her co-workers who allege the ticket was purchased in an office pool.
But Carole Everett, director of communications for the Maryland lottery, told ABC News that there is “no indication” that the story is true.
“Everyone says they know [the winner] is their cousin, mother, friend, guy up the street or guy who mows the lawn,” Everett said. “But the proof has to be in front of us.”
Everett said she is suspicious of Wilson’s story and said that no one has officially come forward yet.
“There’s nothing to substantiate anything,” Everett said. “It’s probably not this person.”
Wilson did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.
“Based on what has happened in the past, most people need a second to breathe and then seek counseling or advice,” Everett said. “It would be highly unusual for someone to go get this out to the newspaper before coming to us. I’d be surprised.”
Everett said that winners usually call in to the lottery office or have a lawyer contact officials. She does not expect that someone will come walking through the door with a winning ticket. She expects it could take days or weeks for someone to come forward.
Maryland is one of three states that had a winning ticket in Friday’s record-breaking $656 million game. Kansas and Illinois also have winners.
Maryland and Kansas allow winners to remain anonymous, but Illinois will identify the winner. The newly-minted multi-millionaires can decide between 26 yearly payments totaling $218.6 million or a one-time lump sum of $157.8 million.
Officials in Kansas and Illinois also said Monday that their respective winners have not yet come forward.
“People are starting to talk and rumors are getting out, but, at this point, it’s all just rumors,” Cara Sloan-Ramos, director of communications for the Kansas lottery, told ABC News. “I started getting calls nonstop since 2 a.m. on Saturday. It’s been crazy, to say the least.”
Mike Lang, spokesman for the Illinois lottery, said the office has received “no contact” from the winner and that any claims so far have been “wishful thinking.”
The winning numbers were 2-4-23-38-46 and Mega ball 23.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio