PhotosJohn HannaDennis Wilson, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, shares the spotlight Friday with a poster depicting the anonymous winner of a share of a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot, during a news conference at lottery headquarters in Topeka.
Though secrecy surrounds the ticket sold at the MotoMart convenience store, lottery officials note it’s not unusual for winners to lay low — and those who advise them say it’s just plain smart.
A third winning ticket was sold in Maryland, and questions fester about a woman claiming to have it. In Maryland, the spotlight has been on Mirlande Wilson, a McDonald’s worker who has claimed to have one of the winning Mega Millions tickets, only to tell NBC News on Thursday that she misplaced it.
For all of its promise, instant riches come with a price, starting with the immediate barrage of calls from relatives and distant friends eager for a handout.
Hopefully they’re getting their ducks in a row and starting to settle into the magnitude of the experience. In Rhode Island, Kathleen Last took nearly a month before claiming a $60 million Powerball prize on Tuesday, then had her attorney, Edmund Alves, pose alongside the oversized lottery check during the official announcement. In Illinois, big jackpot winners are compelled to make themselves public to prove the lottery is paying out its prizes — something that wasn’t done decades ago when such games of chance were scams, Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones said.

Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett said of eight Mega Millions winners there since 2002, only a man named Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett made his identity public.
For example, a winning Powerball ticket worth $77 million sold last summer in Georgia ended up expiring in December after no one came forward within the required 180 days, making it the state’s largest unclaimed ticket since the lottery began in 1993. The Beach Boys Announce Three Michigan Summer ConcertsThe 50 Years of Good Vibrations tour will visits Michigan three times this summer!
Kansas Lottery Director Dennis Wilson said the person came to the agency’s Topeka headquarters Friday morning with an attorney and some financial advisers. Her attorney, Edward Smith Jr., said the attention caused Wilson’s blood pressure to spike and has kept her seven children from playing outside. Never mind the need to hire specialists to address tax implications and craft a disciplined investment strategy that could avoid the fate of past lottery winners who’ve spectacularly burned through vast fortunes or found they were better off before they struck it rich. While her name and hometown were required to be revealed, Last was under no obligation to speak publicly about the lump-sum payout she chose — $25.6 million after taxes, with some of that windfall intended to help a disabled niece requiring expensive care. Though the lottery could insist winners do a news conference, Jones said officials offer some wiggle room to those who want privacy.

One couple and a woman who won initially came out but later asked that officials remove their names from publicity materials, Everett said. The unclaimed money was returned to each of the nearly three dozen participating Powerball states. Co-workers are making pools and talking about tips and tricks to increase their odds of winning. Yet the community of 3,700 has a lingering mystery on its hands: Who bought the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket, and why hasn’t the winner of the world-record $646 million jackpot come forward? Wilson said the person does not want to be identified, even by gender — something Kansas law allows.

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