Three Maryland public school workers stepped forward on Tuesday to claim a $218.6 million share of the record-breaking $656 million Mega Millions jackpot drawn on March 30.
The trio have chosen to remain anonymous and are calling themselves "The Three Amigos," according to the Baltimore Sun. The friends each pitched in $20 to buy $60 worth of lottery tickets from three different locations, including the Baltimore area 7 Eleven that yielded the winning ticket.
The winners chose to take the cash option of $158 million, and will take home just under $35 million each after taxes, according to the Maryland Lottery.
According to NBC Washington, two of the winners had to convince the third that their big-time lottery win was not an April Fools joke.
The "amigos" work in the Maryland public education system in different locations. One winner is an elementary school teacher, another is an administrative assistant, and another is a special education instructor. Lottery officials said that all three will return to work this week, out of "a strong commitment to their students."
"It’s gratifying to know that these individuals, who have given so much to the public through the years, have had this wonderful luck," Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino told MSNBC.
According to NBC Washington, the winners plan to buy homes and invest their winnings. They have also already met with a financial adviser -- an important step, given a recent Vanderbilt University study reporting that big lottery winners are more likely to go bankrupt. In the short run, two winners will take separate European vacations and a third will use some of the money for his daughter's education.
The Three Amigos' winning ticket appears to close the book on the controversy surrounding Mirlande Wilson, the Baltimore McDonald's employee who originally claimed that she had bought -- and then "misplaced" -- the winning ticket. Wilson did not win any part of the prize.
Two other winners of the $656 million jackpot are from Kansas and Illinois. The Kansas winner has chosen to remain anonymous and the Illinois winner has not yet come forward.
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