Two brothers from central New York who claimed a $5 million lottery ticket sold at their family's store have been accused of scamming the winning ticket from a customer.
Andy Ashkar, 34, and 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar have been charged with attempted grand larceny and conspiracy, authorities said Wednesday. Andy Ashkar also was charged with criminal possession of stolen property.
Their lawyer says the brothers will plead not guilty. They maintain they legitimately received the ticket.
Andy Ashkar claimed in March that he bought the ticket at his parents' convenience store in Syracuse. But lawyers said the legitimate purchaser was fooled into giving up the winning scratch-off ticket when he went to cash it at the market in October 2006.
Andy came forward on March 1, just 11 days before the '$500,000,000 Extravaganza' scratch-off card would have expired, New York Lottery initially said.
The agency said the younger brother said he waited so long to claim his prize because he was concerned the windfall could 'negatively influence' his life if he didn't plan properly before being publicly introduced as the winner.
Ashkar also told lottery officials that he also didn't want the windfall to influence his engagement and subsequent marriage.
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