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No to sharing lotto jackpot

Published:Tuesday | April 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM
  • Haitian woman refuses to split winnings with co-workers

A Haitian-born national, who won part of the biggest lotto in United States history over the weekend, says she has no intention of sharing her multimillion-dollar prize with her co-workers, who claimed that they all pooled funds to buy tickets.

Mirlande Wilson, 37, one of three winners of the US$656 million jackpot, is expected to receive US$105 million.

But she told the New York Post newspaper that contrary to reports by her co-workers at a fast-food restaurant, she bought the winning ticket separate and apart from those bought by the group.

"We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself. It (the winning ticket) wasn't on the group plan," Wilson told the Post.

"I was in the group, but this was separate. The winning ticket was a separate ticket," added the single mother of seven.

Wilson refused to show what she said was the winning ticket, claiming she had it hidden in another location and would present it to lottery officials Monday.

With winning tickets also sold in Illinois and Kansas, a single Maryland winner would get an after-tax lump sum of US$105 million, or US$5.59 million a year for 26 years.

If Wilson actually won, and if it was with a pooled work ticket, the situation would be shockingly similar to that of a New Jersey man, Americo Lopes, who tried to prevent sharing with five former colleagues after hitting a US$24-million jackpot before a jury ordered him to spread the wealth.

Wilson's co-workers, who make little more than US$7.50 an hour, say they are angry over the situation.

"She can't do this to us," said Suleiman Osman Husein, a shift manager and one of 15 members in the pool. "We each paid five dollars".

The workers said Wilson bought tickets for the group at the store where the winning ticket was sold.