April 10, 2012, Baltimore – The mystery has been solved: the Maryland Lottery’s winning Mega Millions ticket has been claimed. Stephen Martino, Director of the Maryland Lottery, announced at a press conference this morning that the ticket was claimed by three very happy individuals. The three friends, all of whom work in Maryland’s public education system, will share the $218.6 million portion of the record-breaking $656 million jackpot from March 30.
The winners, who referred to themselves as “The Three Amigos,” arrived at Lottery headquarters with their financial advisor and chose the cash option of $158 million. After taxes, the winners will share $105 million, taking home just under $35 million each.
“We are thrilled that three such deserving Marylanders have won this money,” said Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino. “It’s gratifying to know that these individuals, who have given so much to the public through the years, have had this wonderful luck. It couldn’t have happened to nicer people.”
The winners, a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and another woman in her 50s, opted to pool their money and purchase 20 tickets each, for a total of 60 tickets. The youngest of the group held onto the tickets and checked them immediately following the drawing. “I had all 60 tickets spread across my floor,” she said. “Once I realized one was a winner, I called my two friends right away.”
“That evening, I forgot about the drawing and went to sleep,” said one winner. “It was around 11:30 p.m., and my phone just kept ringing and ringing. I finally decided to answer it, thinking something was wrong.” Once she picked up, the two other winners were on the phone and said, “Get dressed. We’re coming over right now.”
After discussing the win, the threesome came up with a plan. “We made copies of the ticket, and we each signed the copies,” said one of the women. “At 1 a.m., I took the ticket and drove to my mother’s house to put it in her safe. I didn’t even take time to pack any clothes -- I just drove.”
The “Amigos,” who each work multiple jobs, will continue to work for now. When asked if they had plans for their newfound fortune, their answers varied: “I’m going to help my children with their college expenses, pay off my house and buy a house for my sister,” said the man. “I plan on backpacking through Europe with my brother,” said one of the women. “I’m going to go to Italy’s wine country,” the other woman chimed in. “Most importantly,” she added, “we’re going to be careful with how the money is spent. I watched coverage of the jackpot win on television all week, just so I could listen to the financial advice the professionals were offering.”
“Although these three have hit the jackpot-of-a-lifetime, everyone in the state wins,” Martino said. “As a result of the big Mega Millions win, Maryland will receive more than $13 million in additional tax revenue to support the good causes of the state.” When told how much money will be going to the state, one of the winners, a school teacher, said, “I hope that some of the money goes to public education.”
So, does the lucky trio plan to celebrate together? They all agreed, half-jokingly, that they will each get matching tattoos of the winning numbers. While there was lots of laughter at Lottery headquarters, the mood became serious as they grappled with the notion that they would be multi-millionaires in a matter of days. “It’s so crazy that even celebrities are tweeting about this,” said one of them. “Even Britney Spears tweeted a congratulations message to the winners.”
The winning ticket was purchased at 7-11, located on 8014 Liberty Rd. in Milford Mill. The retailer will receive a $100,000 agent bonus for selling the winning ticket. Winning tickets were also sold in Kansas and Illinois. The Kansas winner, who chose to remain anonymous, claimed the prize last week. The Illinois winner has not yet come forward.
Two Maryland second-tier $250,000 tickets from that drawing remain unclaimed. Those tickets were purchased at 7-11 on Beaver Dam Rd. in Timonium and Redner’s Warehouse Market on N. Fountain Green Rd. in Bel Air.
Since its inception in 1973, the Maryland Lottery has awarded more than $18.73 billion in prizes to players and $12.2 billion in revenue to the State of Maryland. One of Maryland’s largest revenue sources, the Lottery supports important state programs and services including education, public safety and health, human resources and the environment. For more information, go to mdlottery.com.