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.
A South Carolina woman's luck stopped short after she told a few friends about her winning $500 ticket. Willie Jones, a friend of the winner, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/south-carolina-stolen-lottery-ticket_n_1686630.html" target="_hplink">charged with stealing her ticket</a>.
After John Ross Jr. won a 'Set For Life' scratch off game, he was looking forward to turning his life around. However, Ross soon <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/john-ross-california-lott_n_1590089.html" target="_hplink">found himself behind bars</a> after he allegedly helped a woman hide and repair a stolen car.
Mirlande Wilson, a McDonald's employee in Baltimore, claimed she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/02/mirlande-wilson-maryland-mcdonalds-worker_n_1396943.html" target="_hplink">had won the record-high $656 million Mega Millions jackpot </a>and that she <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/what_mega_mess_wHA9HVdfxA1VDSqWn58KtJ" target="_hplink">was not going to share her winnings</a> with co-workers, who alleged that Wilson was a part of a workplace lottery pool. Wilson announced that she had <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/marlinde-wilson-mega-millions-winner-ticket-mcdonalds_n_1402892.html" target="_hplink">hid the winning ticket at a McDonald's</a> and subsequently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/mirlande-wilson-mega-millions-mcdonalds_n_1408105.html" target="_hplink">claimed to have lost the ticket</a>. In the end, it was revealed<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/maryland-mega-millions-winner_n_1414857.html" target="_hplink"> Wilson never even had the winning ticket</a>.
A group including MIT undergraduates and a biomedical researcher <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/massachusetts-cash-winfall-lottery_n_1729416.html" target="_hplink">discovered a loophole in the Cash WinFall game</a> that netted them nearly $48 million. Apparently, lottery officials knew about the scam since at least 2010, but did nothing about it because it generated $16 million in revenue for the state.
Retired hospice chaplain Ron Yurcus <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/ron-yurcus-glen-ellyn-lot_n_2139308.html">stumbled across a million-dollar miracle when he found a winning lottery ticket while cleaning out his desk</a> in November 2012. He had purchased the Powerball ticket from a BP gas station two months earlier.
After <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/mirlande-wilson-mega-millions-mcdonalds_n_1408105.html" target="_hplink">McDonald's employee Mirlande Wilson</a> falsely claimed she won Mega Millions' record $656 million jackpot, three <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/maryland-mega-millions-winner_n_1414857.html?ref=money#s785675&title=Undocumented_Immigrant_Awarded" target="_hplink">Maryland school teachers</a> stepped forward to claim their share of the prize.
Two brothers from central New York who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/andy-and-nayel-ashkar-lottery-scam_n_2123886.html">claimed a $5 million lottery ticket sold at their family's store were accused in November 2012 of scamming the winning ticket from a customer.</a> Andy Ashkar, 34, and Nayel Ashkar, 36, are charged with second-degree attempted grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy.
John Turner, a 38-year-old Chicago man, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/11/john-turner-wins-lottery-_n_2105194.html">bought a winning $100,000 lottery ticket </a>after coming to New Jersey to help clean up after Hurricane Sandy. Turner runs National Catastrophe Solutions of Chicago, a local water removal business.
A homeless man in Greenville, S.C. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/homeless-man-wins-lottery-greenville_n_1989771.html">won $200,000 from a scratch-off lottery game</a> in October 2012.
Nicholas Ruth, a 19-year-old cancer survivor, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/nicholas-ruth-teen-cancer-survivor-mega-millions-lottery-video_n_1916132.html">matched five of the six numbers in the state's Mega Millions lottery</a>, earning himself a second-tier prize of $250,000 in September 2012. After taxes, Ruth will have about $165,000 to spend and plans to donate some of his money back to the organizations that helped him with his leukemia.
Willie McPherson, 74, and Christopher Manzi, 44, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/mcpherson-manzi-mega-millions-lottery-25-years_n_1944181.html#slide=757174">won a $14 million jackpot in September 2012 </a>after playing the Mega Millions lottery together for 25 years, according to the New York Post. The two had been buying lottery tickets together after becoming friends while working at Manzi’s print shop in Manhattan.
A store clerk in England tried to turn in 77-year-old Maureen Holt's winning lottery ticket himself after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/lottery-ticket-stolen-from-great-grandmother_n_1733871.html" target="_hplink">telling her it was a losing ticket</a>.
Ryan Kitching, a Scottish teenager,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/04/ryan-kitching-teenage-winning-lottery-tickert-clean-room_n_1319413.html" target="_hplink"> found a winning lottery ticket hiding in his bedroom</a> after his mother told him to clean his room. The ticket is worth more than $80,000.
One Chicago couple won <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-06/news/ct-met-anonymous-lottery-20111106_1_lottery-winners-illinois-lottery-lottery-jackpot" target="_hplink">$30 million in the Illinois lottery</a>, but didn't even tell their kids, according to the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.
Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson, who work at an asset management firm in Greenwich, one of the most affluent towns in America, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/254-million-jackpot-connecticut-money-managers_n_1119321.html">came forward as lottery winners in 2011</a>. Their lawyer said they formed a trust to manage the money after Davidson bought the $1 winning ticket at a Stamford gas station.
Amanda Clayton, 24-year-old from the Detroit-area,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/amanda-clayton-michigan-lottery-food-assistance-stamps_n_1330716.html" target="_blank"> continued collecting $200 in government food assistance</a> after she won a $1 million lotto prize.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/jose-antonio-cua-toc-undocumented-immigrant-lottery-ticket_n_1334564.html" target="_hplink">Jose Antonio Cua-Toc, a foreign national from Guatemala,</a> sued his former boss to reclaim his lotto money, which he had given to his employer out of fear of being exposed as an undocumented immigrant. Cua-Toc won the lawsuit.
The winner of an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/30/iowa-lottery-winner-last-minute_n_1176971.html">Iowa Lottery ticket in 2011 </a>valued at $16.5 million waited until two hours before the deadline to claim the prize. The ticket was purchased nearly one year ago.
In 2011, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/03/winning-80k-lottery-ticke_n_947272.html">an anonymous donor stepped in to help a Georgia church that was burglarized with a winning $80,000</a> lottery ticket the Associated Press reports.