December 29, 2013 02:00 PM

Marvin Rosales Martinez is a landscaper from Long Island, N.Y. In October of 2012, he was cleaning up after Superstorm Sandy when he found a damp scratch-off lottery ticket hidden in a pile of leaves.

One year later, he’s more than $500,000 richer for it.

Martinez, 27, was awarded his $1 million lottery prize on Friday, more than a year after claiming the winning ticket. According to the New York Lottery, Martinez first brought the ticket to a 7-Eleven, though the store couldn’t verify it.

He then brought the ticket to the state lottery’s Long Island location, where officials confirmed that it was a winning ticket.

“In instances such as these,” lottery spokesman Lee Park told CNN (referring to cases of “finders, keepers”), “It’s standard practice for the lottery to require a one-year waiting period before awarding the prize in case anyone else comes forward.”

Luckily for Martinez, no one stepped forward, so he was awarded his $779,106. He opted to receive his winnings as a lump-sum payment, which totaled $515,612 after taxes.

Not bad for some trash found in a pile of leaves.

You May Like