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.)

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • After Further Review: Sloppy wins still count for Saints

    After Further Review: Sloppy wins still count for Saints

    The Saints lead the NFC South via tiebreaker with a 10-4 record. Source: Nola.comThe Saints lead the NFC South via tiebreaker with a 10-4 record. Source: Nola.com

    I usually leave a Saints game with an overall theme or feeling about what I just observed on the field. It typically jumps out at me right away and this column is written. But after Sunday I was left with kind of a blah emotion. Their effort against the Jets was kind of weird. It certainly wasn’t an overly impressive victory to celebrate, but nonetheless, a win in the NFL by double digits is nothing they have to apologize for. Dodging a bullet may be the more accurate descript...

    more>>

    I usually leave a Saints game with an overall theme or feeling about what I just observed on the field. It typically jumps out at me right away and this column is written. But after Sunday I was left with kind of a blah emotion. Their effort against the Jets was kind of weird. It certainly wasn’t an overly impressive victory to celebrate, but nonetheless, a win in the NFL by double digits is nothing they have to apologize for. Dodging a bullet may be the more accurate descript...

    more>>
  • Fatal fires spike in Jefferson Parish

    Fatal fires spike in Jefferson Parish

    (Source: FOX 8)(Source: FOX 8)

    Since the end of October, seven people have lost their lives in fatal fires in Jefferson Parish. The most recent one happened Sunday morning, at around 3:20 AM, on the 4300 block of Anthony Street in Metairie.  Jefferson Parish fire officials say firefighters arrived on scene within five minutes, to find the fire fully involved. "A lot of fire, a lot of destruction when they got there," said Jefferson Parish Fire Chief Dave Tibbetts. "A primary search was made. A...

    more>>

    Since the end of October, seven people have lost their lives in fatal fires in Jefferson Parish. The most recent one happened Sunday morning, at around 3:20 AM, on the 4300 block of Anthony Street in Metairie.  Jefferson Parish fire officials say firefighters arrived on scene within five minutes, to find the fire fully involved. "A lot of fire, a lot of destruction when they got there," said Jefferson Parish Fire Chief Dave Tibbetts. "A primary search was made. A...

    more>>
  • Juan's World: Saints ground Jets, look to Falcons rematch

    Juan's World: Saints ground Jets, look to Falcons rematch

    The Saints meet up with the Falcons on Christmas Eve. Source: Mark LaGrangeThe Saints meet up with the Falcons on Christmas Eve. Source: Mark LaGrange

    Welcome in to Juan's World and as you know, this blog that I do is strictly an opinion piece with a few facts sprinkled in here and there. So, with that in mind, I'm under the opinion that the Saints should've been 'expected' to look past the Jets to next weeks rematch with the Falcons. How could they not look ahead to Atlanta coming to the dome next Sunday. And before you go all 'One Game at a Time' on me, think for a second. You're supposed to beat the Jets, who came in 5-8 and wi...

    more>>

    Welcome in to Juan's World and as you know, this blog that I do is strictly an opinion piece with a few facts sprinkled in here and there. So, with that in mind, I'm under the opinion that the Saints should've been 'expected' to look past the Jets to next weeks rematch with the Falcons. How could they not look ahead to Atlanta coming to the dome next Sunday. And before you go all 'One Game at a Time' on me, think for a second. You're supposed to beat the Jets, who came in 5-8 and wi...

    more>>
Powered by Frankly