October 22, 2014
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - The New York State Lottery put out false information to snare two Syracuse-area brothers accused of scamming a customer out of a winning $5 million scratch-off ticket.
Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman told the media last month that 34-year-old Andy Ashkar bought the ticket in 2006 but waited several years before trying to claim the prize in March. He said he would share the money with 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar.
But the Onondaga County prosecutor said lottery officials had some suspicions and used the media to get the real winner to come forward. Officials allege the Ashkars duped the real winner, a 49-year-old man, before he tried to cash in the ticket.
The brothers pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday to charges of attempted grand larceny, conspiracy and possession of stolen property.