BALTIMORE, Md. (WUSA) - Maryland's Lottery Director is concerned that someone is holding a a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket sold in Maryland may not even know it -- or worse yet, might throw it away by accident.
Stephen Martino says he is concerned that unconfirmed reports of people claiming to be winners, may leave some people believing the prize has been claimed.
"It's important to us that with all the information that's out there in the media that people are not mistaken thinking the ticket has been claimed only to have the actual ticket holder discard their ticket," Martino told reporters Thursday.
Martino recommends that anyone who purchased a single quick pick lottery ticket at the 7-11 store on Liberty Road in the Milford Mill section of Baltimore County Friday evening, check and re-check the ticket to be sure they are not the winner.
The appeal from lottery officials comes after a week of national headlines made by people claiming they are the winner.
Haitian immigrant Mirlande Wilson of Baltimore has told reporters she has the winning ticket, and it is hidden inside the Milford Mill McDonalds restaurant where she worked. She has hired a well-known Baltimore lawyer.
Meanwhile, Michael Dronet of Glen Burnie, Md. told reporters that his claim to his mother that he had a winning ticket was "a practical joke."
Dronet hit the headlines after his mother, who lives in Jackson, Mississippi, told a local TV station about her son's claim.
Dronet showed WUSA what he said was a winning ticket, but retracted his claim after being confronted about his long history of legal problems, including a conviction for falsifying documents in a real estate deal.
WUSA did not broadcast video of Dronet's ticket until after his "practical joke" was exposed.
Martino said no claim can be verified without the winner appearing in person with the winning ticket at Maryland's Lottery headquarters. He said he is confident in safeguards that will prevent a counterfeit ticket from being accepted.
"To be clear, no one has approached the Maryland Lottery to claim this ticket. We have not heard from anyone claiming they have the ticket. We have not heard from a representative claiming they are representing the winner of the ticket," Martino said.