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Righteous winners of 656m dollar jackpot emerge after fraud claimant nailed

London, Wed, 11 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 11 (ANI): Two teachers and a school administrator in Maryland have come forward to claim their share of the record 656 million jackpot, exposing false claims of a McDonald's worker who said she had the winning ticket.

The announcement that the friends, who all work in the Maryland public school system and dub themselves the "Three Amigos," are the real winners brings to an end 10 days of speculation about the identity of the winner of the Mega Millions jackpot, the Telegraph reported.

Hours after the draw, Mirlande Wilson, a Haitian immigrant and mother-of-seven, claimed that she had won the prize - infuriating her co-workers at a Baltimore branch of McDonalds who insisted that she had been in a work syndicate and the millions should be shared.

Three tickets shared the world record 656-million-dollar lottery prize following a draw on March 31 - the other two were bought in Kansas and Illinois.

The three Maryland school workers opted to remain anonymous, as did the Kansas winner, but provided officials with a few details about their lives.

In Illinois, where the prize remains unclaimed, winners must by law be identified.

The Maryland trio, two women in their 20s and 50s and a man in his 40s who used to be colleagues, all work full time and also have part time jobs to supplement their incomes.

They opted to receive a lump sum of 35 million dollars each after taxes and are planning new homes, European vacations and a daughter's college fund - but insist they will not be giving up their day jobs.

One of them is a primary schoolteacher, another teaches pupils with special needs and the third provides administrative support in a school.

"That evening I forgot about the drawing and went to sleep," one of the female winners told lottery officials.

"It was around 11.30pm and my phone just kept ringing and ringing. finally decided to answer it, thinking something was wrong," she said.

The friends each chipped in 20 dollars to buy 60 tickets - one of the other tickets won 1 dollar.

One of the group is described as a frequent player, another often buys scratch cards and the third only took part when the jackpot was large.

Their dream holiday destinations include a backpacking trip around Europe and a tour of Italy's wine country. (ANI)

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