This is an incredible story. Andy and Nayel Ashkar scammed a customer at their convience store out of a five million dollar lotto ticket six years ago, and now when they tried to collect the winnings, they got nailed.
The name of real winner has not been released and the police are calling him John Doe; he’s described as “a hard-working, 49-year-old married father of two”. The story goes that John Doe came into the Ashkar’s store, bought a scratch ticket, and won. The brothers somehow convinced him that he had won $5 000 not $5 000 000.
District Attorney William Fitzpatrick explained this to the media. From ABC news:
“He wasn’t thinking clearly at the time,” Fitzpatrick said of winner’s initial reading of the ticket. “He says to a buddy he won $5,000. The friend says, `No, I think you won $5 million,’ and he says, `No, it couldn’t be.’”
Police say that Andy Ashkar, who was behind the counter, told the man that he won $5,000 as opposed to the $5 million, and offered to pay him $4,000 on the spot to avoid taxes and other complications. John Doe took the deal on the spot, according to police.
So now the brothers have a huge winning ticket, but they don’t cash it right away. They wait right until the last moment before going forward to try and claim the money. Hilariously, they tried to avoid attention by asking for less money.
He [Andy Ashkar] told lottery officials he would take a lesser amount if they could avoid the usual lottery news conference to announce the winners.
This obviously raised some eyebrows.
Suspicious lottery officials, in hopes that the real winner would come forward, put out a detailed press release that the brothers won the $5 million prize, Fitzpatrick said.
Authorities knew about the true winner from a Syracuse police officer who picked up information about him on the street, according to The Associated Press.
The two brothers were arrested on Tuesday and if they are convicted, Andy Ashkar could face up to 25 years for felony criminal possession and stolen property. Nayel Ashkar could face 15 years for grand larceny and conspiracy to commit fraud. Ouch.
John Doe tells authorities that he’s always suspected he had been cheated by the brothers. He’s expected to come forward soon and receive the $5 million prize six years in the making. Chalk one down to the good guys.
[Source: abc NEWS]
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