For Lottery Winners, Silence is Worth Millions

News / United States

For Lottery Winners, Silence is Worth Millions

By: Chris O'Shea

Let's just get this out of the way now: everyone has dreamed of winning the lottery.  Every single person has imagined what they'd do with the money and you're no different. Maybe you'd give some to your parents and some to charity, or maybe you'd just use it to buy a lifetime supply of Oreos, or buy a pro sports team and name them after yourselves. [Ed. Note: We're not judging!] 

The fun that comes with that much money just isn't easy to keep hidden, but for the winners of the March 30th Mega Millions, which paid out the most money in a US lottery ever, are trying to do just that. So far, two out of the three winning-tickets have been claimed by people wishing to remain anonymous (the third ticket holder, who picked it up somewhere in Illinois, has yet to come forward). 

The task won't be easy, especially when they're holding a part of a record-setting $656 million payout, before taxes. But a few years ago a winner in Kansas came forward, without being identified. The Kansas Lottery Board officials presented a check for about $218 million to a cardboard person with a smiley face and "anonymous jackpot winner" printed on it. Kevin Wilson, the executive director of the Kansas Lottery, didn't give up any details, other than the person who won didn't realize that they had won right away. "They didn't actually discover they had the winning ticket until Monday," Wilson told ABC News. "They actually just checked the tickets of all the games they had purchased and found out they were the winner."

The other ticket was claimed by three school workers in Maryland. They came forward as "The Three Amigos," to claim their money. This time, however, we have a little information on them. One is an elementary teacher, one is a special education teacher and one is an administrative assistant. They are two women (one in her 20s and one in her 50s) and a man in his 40s. They've also talked about what they want to do with the money. According to CNN, one winner discussed backpacking through Europe with her brother, the male winner said he wants to pay for his daughters' college and purchase a house for his sister and the other woman winner wants to visit Italy and taste its many wines.

While the Kansas winner will likely be difficult to identify, the Three Amigos don't appear to be too bright. Typically, the best way to remain anonymous is to, well, not say anything about anything. Then there's this gem of a quote from one of the winners: "We're going to be careful with how the money is spent. I watched coverage of the jackpot win on television all week, just so I could listen to the financial advice the professionals were offering." An entire week of financial advice! Well, that should set that winner up to make all the right moves with the money.

The Kansas winner is doing it right. The Maryland winners? Not so much. They're finding out just how difficult it is to keep quiet when you have a huge amount of money come to you. We give it a month before the empty bags of Oreos start piling up.

[Pic via Flickr - Juggernautco]

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