Lotto winner Marvin Rosales Martinez did not buy a ticket to win. According to a Dec. 29 People Magazine report, the Long Island landscaper was cleaning up after Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, when he found a scratch-off ticket in a pile of leaves.
Martinez took the ticket to the state lottery’s Long island office, where officials confirmed it was a winning ticket. A year later, after no one came forward to claim the prize, he was awarded his $779,106. He opted to receive his winnings as a lump-sum payment of $515,612 after taxes.
“In instances such as these,” lottery spokesman Lee Park told CNN, “It's standard practice for the lottery to require a one-year waiting period before awarding the prize in case anyone else comes forward.”
CNN reports that Martinez first brought the ticket to a 7-Eleven, but the store couldn't verify it. Park also explained that the lottery office’s “standard and thorough internal security investigation,” found no evidence that the ticket “wasn’t rightfully the property of Mr. Martinez. There was no report of theft or of a ticket being misplaced.”