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New York man gets payoff after finding $1 million lotto ticket in pile of leaves

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Over a year after striking it rich in a pile of leaves, a New York man reaped the benefits of a lucky find on Friday.

In October 2012, landscaper Marvin Rosales-Martinez of Long Island was doing some cleanup after Superstorm Sandy when he came across a scratch-off lottery ticket tucked inside a pile of leaves that turned out to be worth a cool $1 million.

Though the store it was purchased from couldn't verify the ticket's validity, the New York State Lottery did and confirmed it was a winner, bringing truth to the NYSL's slogan of "Hey, you never know."

According to a lottery spokesman, "finders, keepers" cases such as this one typically stipulate that the "finder" undergo a one-year waiting period in case the original owner comes forward. Lucky for 27-year-old Rosales-Martinez, nobody did, and over the weekend he received his prize money. Opting for a $779,106 lump sum, the find has Martinez walking away with a post-tax prize of $515,612.

“It’s a lot of money,” Rosales-Martinez told New York Daily News through an interpreter. “I’m going to help my family, buy a bunch of little gifts and invest some of it.”

Meanwhile, four other $1 million winners got their checks along with Rosales-Martinez on Friday. Isai Cortez was one of them, who, after winning $500 from a scratch-off ticket last month, scored an even bigger prize. He says he plans to use the lump sum to buy a new house and contribute some winnings to his church.

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