Finders Keepers
January 3, 2014

Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers: $1,000,000 Find

The old saying, finders keepers, losers weepers, has probably been said by just about every child, and maybe even the majority of adults. Another thing that the majority of us do, is when we see a lottery ticket on the ground we pick it up, hoping it is a winner.

That is just what happened to a New York landscaper Marvin Rosales Martinez. In late 2012, he was cleaning debris left over from Superstorm Sandy and noticed a lottery ticket in a pile of leaves. When he picked up the “Win $1,000 a Week for Life” ticket, he noticed that all three numbers matched and it was a winner.

“I took it home and showed it to my mom but she didn’t believe it,” Martinez said. He added that the ticket was wet, “so I left it to dry underneath a lamp.”

Martinez told the New York Post, “This was someone else’s luck, but my ticket! 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.”

He first took the ticket to a 7-eleven store, but it could not be verified. Then, on November 9, 2012, he presented it to the lottery’s Long Island Customer Service Center. It was confirmed to be a winning ticket and for security purposes, an investigation began to verify the ownership of the ticket.

Lee Park, a lottery spokesman stated, “It should be noted that Lottery tickets are bearer instruments. 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.”

“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,” stated by the New York State Gaming Commission.

When he first took the ticket to the lottery office, they asked him a lot of questions and told him there would be an investigation. He forgot about it and three weeks ago he got a call and was able to claim the ticket on Friday, he took a lump sum payment of $779,106, and after taxes, he received $515,612.

“It’s a lot of money. I’m going to help my family, buy a bunch of little gifts and invest some of it,” Martinez stated through an interpreter.

Martinez came to America from El Salvador six years ago. He and his wife lives with his mom Maria, whose house still has damage from the storm. She had told him to throw the ticket away, but now she’s glad he didn’t.

He plans to send some money back to El Salvador, help his mom pay off the damage, and stated, “My wife and I didn’t go on a honeymoon, so maybe we’ll take a trip to Miami or something. I want to keep living a normal life. This won’t change us.” He added, “This won’t change the way I live my life. I’m still going to keep working six days a week.”

Image Credit: Thinkstock 

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