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Lotto winner: Fluky winner finds $1 million ticket while leaf blowing

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A Lotto winner is certainly happy he spent time blowing some leaves last year. In addition to cleaning up the yard, 27-year-old Marvin Rosales Martinez, a resident of Hicksville on Long Island, saw something else twisting in the wind – a soggy "Win $1,000 a Week for Life" scratch-off ticket.

According to CNN on Dec. 28, Martinez, a landscaper by trade, was formally awarded his $1 million lottery prize on Friday, more than one year after he found the ticket while cleaning up yards during post Hurricane Sandy.

Martinez first brought his ticket to a 7-Eleven, but the store was unable to verify it as a winner. So in November of 2012, Martinez took the ticket to the New York State Lottery Long Island Customer Service Center, where much to his delight, they confirmed the $1 million dollar prize.

Martinez didn’t walk out with his cold cash however. He had to wait, and wait, for over one year, before validity and ownership of the ticket could be established.

A "standard and thorough internal security investigation" had to occur, says Lee Park, a New York Lotto spokesman.

After the state concluded their review, they found no reason to indicate the ticket "wasn't rightfully the property of Mr. Martinez. There was no report of theft or of a ticket being misplaced," Park said.

Park says the one-year waiting period is fairly standard in occasions like these.

"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," Park explained.

No one came forward to dispute the finding, and Marvin is now a rich man. Martinez opted for the lump-sum option, and walked away with $515,612 after required federal and state tax withholdings.

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