Marvin Rosales Martinez is a landscaper from Long Island, New York. He was cleaning up the leftover debris from Superstorm Sandy, with a leaf blower, when he found something that would change his life forever. There under the pile of leaves was a "Win $1,000 a Week for Life" scratch-off ticket.
Martinez examined the ticket and instantly realized that he was the winner of $1 million. He first took the ticket to a 7-Eleven, but the convenience store was unable to verify it. Martinez later took the ticket to the lottery's Long Island Customer Service Center, where they were able to verify that he, in fact, did have the winning ticket.
The lottery completed a thorough investigation to determine if Martinez was the rightful owner, since he had found the ticket and not purchased it himself. Over a year later, upon completion of their investigation, Martinez was awarded his $1 million prize.
Lee Park, a lottery spokesman, said that the internal investigation found no reason as to why Martinez should not be able to claim the prize. "It should be noted that Lottery tickets are bearer instruments," said Park. "In instances such as these, it's standard practice for the lottery to require a one-year waiting period before awarding the prize in case anyone else comes forward." On Friday, Martinez opted to take lump sum payment, and took home $515,612 after taxes.
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