Brother on trial: I bought $5M NY lottery ticket - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Brother on trial: I bought $5M NY lottery ticket

Nayel Ashkar (left) and Andy Ashkar (right) (Photos: Onondaga County District Attorney's Office) Nayel Ashkar (left) and Andy Ashkar (right) (Photos: Onondaga County District Attorney's Office)
JOHN KEKIS
Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Calling it a bizarre case fraught with inconsistencies, a prosecutor said there was one compelling factor in the charges lodged against two brothers accused of conning a man out of a winning $5 million scratch-off lottery ticket.

Police and lottery officials accuse 35-year-old Andy Ashkar and his older brother, Nayel, of convincing maintenance worker Robert Miles that the ticket he bought in 2006 was worth only $5,000. Authorities say the brothers paid Miles $4,000, took a $1,000 handling fee, then waited until the ticket was about to expire before trying to claim the jackpot in 2012.

"Why did they wait when there were so many other factors out there?" Onondaga County prosecutor Beth Van Doren asked after closing arguments Friday. "Why? It just didn't make sense, other than they were waiting for time to pass so witnesses would no longer be around, documents would be lost, or the statute of limitations would pass."

The brothers were charged with conspiracy, and Andy Ashkar was charged with criminal possession of stolen property. The ticket was purchased at their parents' store in Syracuse.

Earlier Friday, Andy Ashkar testified that he went to his parents' store for lunch on Oct. 27, 2006, and bought the winning ticket, which cost $20, while he was there.

"I scratched it on the customer side of the counter," Ashkar said, then handed it to his father. "He scanned it. He said, 'Shut up!' He didn't want anyone to know."

Ashkar said he planned to go to the lottery office that day, then changed his mind, called his brother and went to his parents' home.

"I was hesitant. I wanted to do it the right way," said Ashkar, who was unemployed and receiving public assistance at the time. "I didn't want it to have a negative impact on my family."

Ashkar, who is of Palestinian descent, said he waited nearly six years because he was worried for his family's safety. Their convenience store is located in what he called a crime-ridden neighborhood.

Defense attorney Robert Durr focused his closing on the credibility of the witnesses called by the prosecution. He said they could have made up the story in the hopes that Miles would pay them.

Before closing arguments, the defense produced federal grand jury testimony from prosecution witness Ramon Rosario in a similar case in which Rosario had taken payment from drug dealers in exchange for his help.

Durr called it "similar to what seems to have gone on here" and reiterated that there still was no proof the winning ticket was ever stolen. Miles testified earlier in the weeklong trial that Andy Ashkar had taken the ticket from him.

"There was no wrongful taking of that ticket. Nobody can place him (Miles) where he scratched the ticket," Durr said. "If he had made a complaint, things could have been done."

Judge Joseph Fahey reserved judgment in the case, which was conducted without a jury after the Ashkars signed a waiver allowing the verdict to come from the bench.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    more>>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    more>>
  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>
  • Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Tuesday, April 25 2017 2:44 PM EDT2017-04-25 18:44:10 GMT
    Tuesday, April 25 2017 3:49 PM EDT2017-04-25 19:49:50 GMT

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    more>>

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    more>>
Powered by Frankly