Mirlande Wilson was part of a lottery pool formed in the Maryland McDonald’s where she works, and claims that she bought one of the three winning tickets that will split the $640 million dollar Mega Millions jackpot. But Wilson told the New York Post that although she did take part in the pool, she bought the winning ticket on her own and has no intention of splitting the winnings. A co-worker who took part in the pool dispute’s Wilson’s story and says Wilson was given additional money late Friday night to buy extra lottery tickets before the Mega Millions drawing.
Why are people like this? Yes, I know, greed…still: does winning a fortune have to turn people into utter, irredeemable jerks? We just went through this story with Americo Lopes, remember? He was part of a workplace lottery pool and charged with buying the group’s tickets, but miraculously bought the winning ticket for a $38.5 million jackpot with his own money (he said) and refused to share it. After a year-long lawsuit by five co-workers, a ton of money paid to lawyers and the embarrassment of being known state and nationwide as selfish, betraying louse, a jury ordered Lopes to share his winnings with the five men. Why does Wilson think her ploy will work any better? And why is it worth it to her to refuse to share the money even if she did buy her own ticket? She was part of a pool. There is no way, ever, that a member of a pool who was given the pooled money to buy a lottery ticket will be believed when he or she says—“Guess what? I bought a winning ticket, but it wasn’t one of the ones I bought with your money!” This is such an easy Golden Rule call, it’s ridiculous. Share the winnings! Wilson stands to get 26 yearly payments totaling $218.6 million or a one-time lump sum of $157.8 million. It’s windfall; she didn’t work for it…and she works at McDonald’s! $20 million isn’t enough for her?
This is, of course, part of the unconscionable cheat that is the state lotteries. Most people foolish and irresponsible enough to play the lotteries are also so foolish that they don’t know what to do with all the cash if they win it. Most of the time, they blow through the money at the speed of light, and lose most of their friends in the process. Mirlande seems like a good candidate for that fate.
It’s even possible that this alleged Mega Millions winner is a Mega Dunce. Lottery officials say they doubt that she has a winning ticket. Now that would be stupid: expose yourself as a greedy, double-crossing creep by announcing that you won’t share your winnings when you don’t have any winnings to share!
10 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Mirlande Wilson”
$640 million! To keep from sharing her good fortune with those who trusted her, she intends to sell her honor and her soul. And, like so many who’ve struck it rich by such means, 12 years’ time will probably find her broke and friendless. In her case, it would be well justified.
Holy generalization, Batman! I play the lottery and don’t consider myself irresponsible or foolish. It is a game. It costs less than alot of other forms of entertainment. I don’t drink, I don’t go to movies in theatres, I eat in a restaurant once a year or so, my kids are adults and moved out, how am I irresponsible? You would rather I invest my $18/mo by shopping for things I don’t need?
I also still don’t understand why you think…. “and why is it worth it to her to refuse to share the money even if she did buy her own ticket?” Why should she share if it was her own ticket? I play a hit and miss pool that only buys when the prize hits a certain level. When I play that, I also get a shared ticket with my sister and a group of three of us also buy a shared ticket at the same prize level. I still buy my own single ticket. All the “group” tickets we buy are published to the groups before the draw. I wouldn’t share my own ticket with the pool group if it won and I certainly wouldn’t expect them to share theirs. It’s a game. There are winners and losers and that isn’t in my control at all. If my group ticket wins, I am at the party celebrating and I get a bonus windfall of cash. If someone else in my group wins on an individual ticket, I am at the party celebrating for them with no expectation of half the cash. Not my worry though because I am rural so am never the one buying the tickets. I would not be happy if our group numbers were not in my email before the draw but that has never happened. Of course, we don’t see 600 million dollar jackpots here so a lot less money to fight over.
Danielle, playing the lottery is always irresponsible when one can’t pay bills, can’t save, can’t afford to buy a house, can’t take care of one’s kids or if one is on public assistance…and a high proportion of players are. Various studies have shown that the more someone earns, the less they spend on the lottery, right down to the poor who are literally throwing away money they could and should use to build a better future.
It’s irresponsible for you, because you are supporting a corrupt and unethical, cowardly system of revenue-raising that is regressive and preys on the poor, desperate and foolish. It also corrupts the state, by making it a partner in an enterprise that was once treated as criminal, and should be now. The states took over the numbers game, and like the hucksters who ran that, its goal is to make cash out of the gullibility of suckers. All because they don’t have the guts or integrity to tax the more wealthy. Better to trick people who make bad life decisions to give their money away in the hopes of a million-to-one shot.
If you’re in a pool, holding pool tickets, you should regard your lottery efforts as the work of a team. Unless you specifically tell your team that a ticket is being bought separately, for you alone, and you place it in a separate place with verification, you better be prepared to share whatever you have. Nobody’s going to believe that your “personal” ticket was the jackpot winner. I wouldn’t. What a nice coincidence!
She should share the money because she was holding both her tickets (maybe) and the group’s without keeping them distinct. There is a presumption of fraud, and its her own fault, 100%. So shrug, say “Oh, well, I blew it, but they’re still my friends,” and share the money.
“It’s irresponsible for you, because you are supporting a corrupt and unethical, cowardly system of revenue-raising that is regressive and preys on the poor, desperate and foolish. It also corrupts the state, by making it a partner in an enterprise that was once treated as criminal, and should be now.” Wow, you really don’t like the lottery. I feel the same way about alcohol sales. I don’t spend any of my money to support that.
I didn’t mean to imply that this particular person should not have to share her money. I agree with you and Tim on that. No evidence? Share the winnings. I meant generally speaking a single winner should not have to share winnings if they also play in a pool. And with all the problems that crop up with these pools, the state is probably taking particular advantage of the idiots among us because I don’t know anyone else that would hand their money into a pool without having numbers before the draw. That is foolish.
You’re right—I REALLY don’t like the lottery.
“There is no way, ever, that a member of a pool who was given the pooled money to buy a lottery ticket will be believed when he or she says—’Guess what? I bought a winning ticket, but it wasn’t one of the ones I bought with your money!'”
Sure there is: You buy the pool tickets, photocopy them, and give the copies to the other people in the pool before the drawing takes place.
Of course, the last time I participated in a lottery pool, it was with the IT and Accounting departments where I worked, so we all thought that was the natural thing to do.
Right…but when you take the proper precautions, nobody has to believe you: you have documentation. They have to believe that.
They have the same documentation, so they can check the numbers themselves during the draw. What’s the fun of playing if you can’t check the numbers?
Obviously, if a pool collects $95 for 95 draws and each participant received a photocopy of the 95 draws, and you list who contributed how much to the $95….anyone that hits the jackpot on a ticket that wasn’t disclosed as being a part of the group is going to retain their sole rights.
Now, in this case, they have allegedly taken no precautions. Game over. Split the money.
Game over. Split the money. Bingo, Tim.
….i mean, game over if she ACTUALLY IS THE WINNER. Can anyone say, publicity stunt?