Updated 11/13/2012 10:06 PM
Lottery ticket scam uncovered
Two brothers are behind bars for attempting to claim a lotto ticket that wasn't theirs. It was worth $5 million. Andy Ashcar told the actual owner of the ticket it was worth just a fraction of that, however, authorities figured out the plan before they could cash in. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with the District Attorney's office and has more on the investigation.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. --Brothers Andy and Nayel Ashkar were arrested on Tuesday. They were featured in a newspaper article just last month about this winning ticket. They attempted to pocket big money, but lottery officials and authorities discovered their story just didn't add up.
Authorities say a $5 million lottery scam began at Greenale Market in 2006. A patron purchased a scratch off ticket and discovered he was the winner, but the District Attorney's office says Andy Ashkar had other plans.
"Andy Ashkar took the ticket from him and said you're not a $5 million winner, you're a $5,000 winner here. Let me take this ticket and he offers to go and cash the ticket in for him," said Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney Beth Van Doren.
Ashkar gave the victim $4,000, claiming there was a $1,000 fee. Authorities say he and his brother Nayel Ashkar planned to illegally claim the actual prize money from the state lottery earlier this year.
The brothers are related to the owners of the market. We stopped by to see if anyone working there had any comment. They said no.
The District Attorney's office said the length of time it took for the brothers to come forward and the fact they're related to the store owners put investigators on alert. When asked if anyone else was involved, Van Doren said this investigation is not over.
"We are going to pursue this matter. We'll pursue this matter until justice is done. We're going to see that someone isn't unjustly enriched because they took advantage of someone," Van Doren said.
Andy Ashkar has been charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Both brothers face charges of attempted grand larceny and conspiracy.
The winner of the lottery ticket came forward after an article appeared in the newspaper last month. He is cooperating with the District Attorney’s office and depending on the outcome, he may be awarded the money