Smith wouldn't say whether Wilson was still employed at the local McDonald's.

Maryland lottery officials, who scheduled a news conference for Thursday to discuss the jackpot's impact on the state and how the claim process works, have heard a number of rumors about potential winners.

It is not unusual for uncertainty to surround people who claim to have won the lottery. In 2007, a Woodbine, N.J., store sold a winning $390 million Mega Millions ticket, which was record-breaking at that time.

Word got out that a cook at a local tavern had told acquaintances, including his boss, that he was the new multi-millionaire. A relative of the cook later said that he had mistaken a printout containing the winning numbers for his ticket.

This week, Michael Dronet, 43, of Glen Burnie, had reported to media outlets that he was the latest Mega Millions winner before abruptly changing his tune, saying a friend had tricked him by creating a fake ticket. Dronet, who has a long court record and was sentenced to a year in jail in 2006 for a real estate scheme in which he falsified mortgage documents, said he never wanted the attention, but had believed he had won.

At the news conference, Smith said he wouldn't push Wilson to take the ticket to the Maryland Lottery to cash in her prize. The winner has up to 182 days, or about six months, to claim the money, lottery officials have said.

Smith said Wilson would come forward "at some juncture" to claim the prize.

But, for now, Wilson is keeping people guessing. As she left the attorney's office, she ignored another round of media questions, slipping into the passenger seat of a beat-up gray Honda Accord with no hubcaps. It soon sped away.

Baltimore Sun reporters Susan Reimer, Jessica Anderson, Peter Hermann and Kevin Rector contributed to this article.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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