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Lotto winner Marvin Martinez: ‘Finders keepers,’ landscaper found $1M ticket

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Lotto winner Marvin Martinez, who found his $1 million winning wet and dirty lottery ticket rolling with a pile of leaves and lawn clippings, is glad that he didn’t listen to his mom who told him to throw the raggedy-looking ticket away. Over the past weekend, 27-year-old New York landscaper Marvin Martinez “who stumbled upon an orphaned $1 million lottery ticket a month after Superstorm Sandy” was awarded his prize money according to a Dec. 30, 2013, Associated Press report.

On Friday, lotto winner Marvin Martinez received a check for his winning ticket from New York Lottery officials. It took a year for the state gaming commission to complete an investigation in order ensure no one claimed the winning lottery ticket and that the scratch card was not stolen or reported missing.

“A standard and thorough internal security investigation found no reason to believe that the ticket wasn’t rightfully the property of Mr. Martinez. There was no ­report of theft or of a ticket being misplaced. 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. But no one else came forward.” said a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission.

Lotto winner Marvin Martinez says that “this was someone else’s luck, but my ticket!”

In November of 2012, following Superstorm Sandy, Marvin Martinez was working in his landscaping job in Bayville. “My co-worker was blowing the leaves and I was collecting them when I saw the ticket hiding between wet leaves. I still don’t know what made me pick it up.”

After taking a closer look at the “Win $1,000 a Week for Life” scratch card, Marvin Martinez thought that all three numbers appeared to be winners, but when he took the wet and dirty ticket home to his mom, she told him to throw it away. Instead of listening to his mom, the landscaper dried the ticket underneath a lamp and when the New York Lottery customer service center on Long Island eventually reopened after having lost power during Sandy, he showed them the ticket. “They asked me a lot of questions and said they would have to ­investigate. I forgot about it.”

Lotto winner Marvin Martinez found out three weeks ago that “finders keepers” applied to his winning lottery ticket. Last month, before having received the call, Marvin Martinez married 24-year-old Miriam Benitez, who works at a Subway sandwich shop. The landscaper’s new wife didn’t find out that her husband was a "finders keepers" $1 million lotto winner until reporters showed up at their home on Friday. “I can’t believe. I can’t believe it,” says Miriam.

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