Three school workers — not Mirlande Wilson — actually won the Mega Millions

Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino announces three winners of the Mega Millions jackpot during a news conference in Baltimore April 10, 2012

An elementary school teacher, a special education teacher and another public school worker in Maryland shared one of three winning tickets for the record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot, Maryland Lottery officials announced on Tuesday.

Each of the three winners who shared the single Maryland ticket will take home $34.997 million after taxes, lottery officials said. The winners chose to remain anonymous.

Two other winning tickets were sold in Kansas, where a winner came forward, and Illinois, where a winner has not yet surfaced.

“If it can’t be you these are precisely the people that you would want to see win the lottery,” Maryland Lottery director Stephen Martino said at a news conference.

“They were modest, they were I think humbled by this stroke of luck that they have received,” he said. “I think at times they were a bit overwhelmed.”

The three lucky Maryland players invested $20 each to play the $1 game a total of 60 times at three different locations.

After striking it rich on March 30, they remained silent for a week while a bizarre story surfaced of a McDonald’s worker and mother of seven who initially claimed she had the winning ticket but then said she lost it.

The real winners came forward on Monday but said they wished to remain anonymous, which is permissible by Maryland law.

Their windfall will be used to pay for dreams as exotic as a backpacking trip through Europe and a wine country tour in Italy and as practical as new homes and a college education for their children, lottery officials said. All said they would invest some of the money.

Three winning tickets were sold for the record U.S. $656 million jackpot, one in Kansas, one in Illinois, and one in Maryland.

The Kansas winner also has asked to remain anonymous and officials declined to give details of the winner’s gender, age, occupation or hometown.

The jackpot will be split evenly among the holders of the three tickets. Each winning ticket is worth a lump sum of about $105 million, or smaller payments spread out over 26 years.

The state of Maryland reaped about $13 million in revenue from the winning ticket, lottery officials said.


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