Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems: Mega Millions Winner Won’t Share Money With Lotto Pool

April 2, 2012  |  

Anybody over the age of five knows you don’t play with people’s money, and when we’re talking millions of dollars, things could get ugly.

As you know by now, there were three wining tickets in last week’s $656 million Mega Millions lotto, one of which a Maryland woman named Mirlande Wilson has laid claim to. The problem is Mirlande says the $105 million lump sum she’ll receive after taxes is all hers but her coworkers at McDonald’s say they all went in on that ticket together and the money belongs to all of them. Now Mirlande is trying to explain her way out of the million-dollar split.

“We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself. [The ‘winning’ ticket] wasn’t on the group plan,” the 37-year-old told the NY Post.

“I was in the group, but this was separate. The winning ticket was a separate ticket.”

That’s a pretty convenient excuse, but Mirlande’s coworkers, who make about $7.50 an hour, aren’t buying it.

“She can’ t do this to us!” said Suleiman Osman Husein, a shift manager and one of the 15 people in the pool. “We each paid $5. She took everybody’s money!”

A man named Allen, who is the boyfriend of one of the McDonald’s managers named Layla, was part of the pool and said Mirlande bought tickets for the group at the 7-Eleven in Milford Mill, where the winning ticket was sold. The group’s tickets and a list of those who contributed to the pool were left in an office safe inside the store. Later that evening before the lotto drawing, the owner of the McDonald’s, Birul Desai, supposedly gave Wilson $5 to buy more tickets for the pool on her way home from work, and she went back to the 7-Eleven and bought them then took those tickets home with her, Allen said. However, Mirlande says she bought the second batch of tickets with someone else outside of the pool and the winning ticket came from that pile.

When Mirlande called the store after the winning numbers were announced, crying, “I won, I won,” they knew something was up. Allen says he and Layla went to her home and pounded on the door for 20 minutes until she finally came out and he told her not to play with people’s money:

“These people are going to kill you. It’s not worth your life!,” Allen said he told her.

He then claims Mirlande responded, “All right! All right! I’ll share, but I can’t find the ticket right now.”

Making the entire situation even more shady, the winning Maryland ticket has yet to be claimed and Yohannes Michael, a clerk at the 7-Eleven where the woman bought the tickets says she doesn’t even think Mirlande won. She said lottery officials have reviewed the store’s video and believe that a man bought the winning ticket but lottery rep Carole Everett would not confirm that.

Either way, Mirlande is probably going to catch a beatdown. I just don’t know which will make it worse—lying about winning the money in the first place or keeping the money to herself?

If Mirlande is the winner do you think she should share the money with her coworkers regardless?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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