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Lotto multimillionaire cashes final check

May 27, 2000

BALTIMORE - More and more Maryland Lotto winners are choosing to cash out, or collect a discounted lump sum cash settlement of their winnings instead of continuing to receive annuity checks.

Lester Martin, 74, of Waynesboro, Pa., and his two sons hit the Lotto jackpot nine years ago.

On Friday, Martin picked up his final check and talked to Maryland State Lottery officials about how his life has changed after winning. His sons, David Martin, 48, and Carroll Martin, 51, have decided to continue receiving annuity checks.

Martin and his sons hit Lotto in 1991 for more than $11 million. They split the jackpot, which rounded out to a little more than $3,730,000 each.

They did what most people do with big winnings. They bought a house and helped out family members, but they also did something many Lottery winners have not - they started their own corporation.

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In 1993, they established Marwon Enterprises. Because winning Lotto has put extra cash into their bank accounts, they were able to begin the company and buy a 16-apartment complex.

In addition to the investment, Lester Martin also donates a healthy amount to the Waynesboro volunteer fire department.

Martin had some advice for future big money winners.

"You will get many phone calls and letters from people you don't know. Be careful," he said.

"When you confirm that you are a winner, make sure you contact an accountant, a lawyer and an investment adviser. Don't just go through the yellow pages to find someone; get recommendations and make sure you are comfortable with these people."

Martin has been married for 53 years. He shares his winnings with his wife, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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