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Sunday, February 25, 2024 | Back issues
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McDonald’s Lottery Pool Refuses to Let Go

BALTIMORE (CN) - A McDonald's worker who briefly claimed to have won Mega Millions is freezing out the rest of her pool, 14 people claim in court.

When the jackpot for the March 30, 2012, drawing had topped $656 million, 16 employees of Maryland McDonald's restaurant pooled their money together and charged Mirlande Wilson with buying the tickets, according to the complaint.

Apart from the 14 named plaintiffs and Wilson, the complaint in Baltimore City Circuit Court does not name the 16th member of the alleged pool.

"Upon information and belief, Wilson initially purchased $75.00 of tickets at a Shell station near the McDonald's restaurant," the complaint states. "On information and belief, she purchased, or caused another to purchase, additional tickets, including the winning ticket at a 7-11 convenience store in Baltimore County. These additional tickets were purchased by virtue of additional monies being paid into the pool after the first purchase."

In the days following the drawing, Wilson began telling some co-workers in the pool that "we won," according to the complaint.

The situation even garnered international media attention and made Wilson a pseudo-celebrity.

According to the Baltimore Sun, "as the hype grew and the news media began staking out Wilson's home, Wilson held a bizarre news conference and eventually said she lost her ticket. Days later, lottery officials announced that the real holders of the winning Baltimore County ticket were three public school educators dubbed the 'Three Amigos.'"

But the McDonald's employees say that Wilson really did win and conspired with the "Three Amigos" to defraud them.

"Since that time, defendant Wilson has repeatedly admitted that those individuals were mere nominees, on her behalf, and that arrangements had been made to ensure that she would later receive nearly all the lottery proceeds," the complaint states.

Wilson told the Sun, however, that she never had the ticket and that the claims in the lawsuit are false.

The 14 co-workers seek a temporary restraining order and injunction barring the Wilson from using or transferring the lottery proceeds before a hearing on the merits.

They also seek punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract, conversion, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment.

The group is represented by John Yannone with Price Benowitz of Washington, D.C.

Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett "laughed out loud after being told of the lawsuit," according to the Sun.

Everett reportedly said "it sounded like wishful thinking from a group who had their hopes unfairly raised by Wilson in the first place. The 'Three Amigos' are the true winners, Everett said," according to the Sun.

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