Fourteen McDonald’s employees from Baltimore are suing co-worker Mirlande Wilson for allegedly stealing more than $100 million in lottery winnings from a ticket that they say they had purchased together.
The lawsuit claims that Mirlande Wilson bought a winning lottery ticket with the group’s pooled money and then avoided giving them their payouts – even though she never actually claimed the Mega Millions jackpot award.
Mirlande Wilson, 37, briefly won TV and Internet fame in April for claiming to have won a ticket for the Mega Millions jackpot, which totaled $656 million at the time, and then failing to produce the winning ticket. She eventually claimed that she had misplaced it.
Days after Mirlande Wilson claimed to have lost the ticket, three public school workers including two teachers and an administrator came forward with a winning ticket to claim their prize. The winners, who chose to remain anonymous, each received between $30 million and $40 million after taxes.
The lawsuit against Mirlande Wilson claims that she had never lost the ticket, but that she gave it to the public school workers in order to split the prize money among fewer people.
One of the plaintiffs, Dominique Gordet, says he was Mirlande Wilson’s live-in boyfriend at the time and that she confessed the elaborate scheme to him.
“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 lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs said they gave Mirlande Wilson more than $75 to buy lottery tickets at a Shell gas station near the McDonald’s where they worked.
“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.”
News of the lawsuit was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Maryland lottery officials say there is no evidence of fraud in the Mega Millions winnings.