US & Canada

Mega Millions: School employees win Maryland jackpot

A winning ticket that claimed part of the record $656m (£413m) US Mega Millions jackpot will be shared between three public school employees.

Lottery officials in the US state of Maryland said "the three amigos", as they call themselves, would share a cash option of $158m.

The trio - a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s - will each claim $35m after taxes.

The winning ticket was bought at a 7-Eleven shop in a Baltimore suburb.

The three, a special education teacher, an elementary school teacher and an administrator, each bought 20 tickets for their syndicate.

They have chosen to remain anonymous, but the lottery agency shared some details at a news conference in Baltimore on Tuesday.

Mystery Illinois winner

According to lottery officials, the three had been working other jobs outside school to make ends meet.

The newly minted multi-millionaires' plans include a backpacking trip in Europe, a tour of Italy's wine country and paying for a daughter's college education.

They share the larger Mega Millions prize with two winning tickets in Kansas and Illinois.

The Kansas winner came forward on Friday but has also chosen to stay anonymous.

The lucky-ticket holder in the state of Illinois, where winners are not allowed to stay anonymous, has yet to come forward.

Lottery director Stephen Martino said in a statement they were thrilled that "three such deserving Marylanders" had won the jackpot.

"It's gratifying to know that these individuals, who have given so much to the public through the years, have had this wonderful luck. It couldn't have happened to nicer people."

The youngest of the Maryland "three amigos" checked all 60 tickets as the drawing happened.

"Once I realised one was a winner, I called my two friends right away," she said in a statement.

The next morning the three made copies of the ticket and signed their copy. They came forward to lottery officials with a financial adviser on Monday.

The three said they would continue to work for the near future.

Last week, a Maryland fast-food worker said she held the winning ticket, but lottery officials had cast doubt on that story.

The world's biggest ever jackpot was drawn on 31 March.

The winners can choose between receiving their full allotment in 26 annual payments, or a lower instant cash option.

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