Maryland Lottery officials want to be clear: The person who bought the winning Mega Millions ticket at a Baltimore County 7-Eleven has not come forward.
Double-check your ticket before tossing it in the trash, said state lottery Director Stephen Martino.
People should not throw out their tickets based on a false assumption that someone has claimed the prize, he said Thursday afternoon at a news conference intended to "separate fact from fiction."
"Our status is no different from Saturday morning," Martino said.
The facts, which have been known for days: Around 7:15 p.m. Friday, about four hours before the drawing, someone bought a single "Quick Pick" ticket at a 7-Eleven on Liberty Road in Milford Mill.
The holder of that ticket wins one-third of the $656 million grand prize — jackpot tickets were also sold in Illinois and Kansas — which will total more than $100 million after taxes. (Winnings in those states also remained unclaimed Thursday.)
Though lottery officials have reviewed the surveillance footage from the 7-Eleven store, the time stamp on the video is not synced to the time on the lottery ticket machine, Martino said. That leaves at least a five-minute window, he said, where the winner could appear on the recording.
That video will be used as part of the process of verifying the winner's identity, he said.
Though he would not speak specifically about rumors that have swirled since the drawing, Martino's announcement came a day after two purported Maryland winners spoke publicly.
Michael Dronet, 43, of Glen Burnie told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday that he'd been tricked by a fake ticket that was made by a friend. He didn't realize it was a fraud until after he'd told his mother he was a winner and she'd relayed that he'd won to a Mississippi news station.
Mirlande Wilson, 37, of Westport appeared Wednesday at a news conference. She had her lawyer tell reporters that she may — or may not — have won the giant purse.
Wilson gained national attention after her co-workers at aMcDonald'srestaurant alleged that Wilson told them she bought the winning ticket as part of a workplace pool. They said she then reneged on the claim, saying that if she won — she wasn't clear about it — it was with a ticket she purchased on her own.
Reached by phone Thursday, Wilson told The Sun she is not "ready" to cash in the ticket and that she's feeling "a little bit stressed out" after Wednesday's news conference.
In Maryland, the winner can remain anonymous, though the lottery will announce when a winner comes forward and give as much detail as possible about that person, said Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett.
Lottery officials also said:
•The winner has 182 days, until Sept. 28, to personally present the ticket at the Maryland Lottery's headquarters in Southwest Baltimore.
•The winner — or winners, if the ticket was purchased as part of a pool — need to present proof of their Social Security number and photo identification. If the winner is not a U.S. citizen, a passport can substitute for the Social Security proof.
•If no one claims the jackpot, the money goes back to the states in proportion to ticket sales. Maryland puts the money into a fund that can be used, at the lottery director's discretion, for winnings in "bonus" lottery drawings.
Baltimore Sun reporter Yvonne Wenger contributed to this article.
Annuity vs. lump sum
The Maryland winner has a choice of receiving a single check or 26 annual payments. Here's how the finances of each choice break down.
Annuity, totaling $218.6 million before taxes:
Twenty-six annual payments of $8.4 million each
An annual 25 percent federal tax of $2.1 million
An annual 8.5 percent state tax of $715,000
Yearly take-home is about $5.6 million
In all, after taxes, the winner receives about $145 million
Cash payment, totaling $158 million before taxes:
A 25 percent federal tax of roughly $39.5 million
An 8.5 percent state tax of about $13.4 million
The winner would receive about $105 million after taxes
Source: Maryland LotteryCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun