A Long Island landscaper is $1 million richer after he was finally allowed to collect on a “Win for Life” lottery ticket he found in a pile of leaves and lawn clippings last year.
Marvin Rosales-Martinez said that he “saw a ticket rolling with a bunch of leaves. It was all wet, and I took it home and I dried it. When I found out I had won, I felt very lucky. I felt very happy.”
Lottery officials conducted an official investigation that lasted almost an entire year, to ensure both that the winning ticket was legitimate and that its original purchaser did not step forward.
On Friday, Rosales-Martinez collected a lump-sum of $515,612.
His mother, Maria Martinez, said that she initially told her son to throw the ticket away, but is happy that he didn’t. “He told me, ‘I’ve been working for 20 yeas in this country, and I’ve never found even $100 — let alone a million.'”
Watch a CNN video on Rosales-Martinez below.