LocalSYR

1 brother free, 1 to see prison time after lottery case verdict

A judge has determined that two brothers accused of stealing a $5 million lottery ticket are not guilty of conspiracy; but that one brother is guilty of criminal possession of stolen property.
Updated - Wednesday at 11:11 a.m.

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A judge has determined that two brothers accused of stealing a $5 million lottery ticket are not guilty of conspiracy; but that one brother is guilty of criminal possession of stolen property.

Andy and Nayel Ashkar faced multiple felony charges after investigators said they scammed a Syracuse man out of a $5 million lottery ticket and kept it themselves.

On Wednesday, a judge determined that they are not guilty of conspiracy, but that Andy Ashkar is guilty of criminal possession of stolen property.

The stolen property conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one to three years in prison. The maximum sentence is eight to 25 years.

Assistant District Attorney Beth Van Doren was satisfied with the verdict, noting that the stolen property charge was more significant than conspiracy.

Grand larceny charges against the pair were determined to be beyond the statute of limitations.

Investigators said that Robert Miles of Syracuse bought the $5 million winning ticket at the Green Ale Market in October 2006, but Andy Ashkar told the man it was only worth $5,000 and then awarded him with $4,000, saying there was a $1,000 fee attached.

The Ashkar brothers surfaced in 2012, saying that they had waited because of personal and security concerns. Officials became suspicious because of the prolonged delay and launched an investigation.

The lottery has said that it will not determine who will be awarded the money from the ticket until the brothers' father's trial. In December, Nayef Ashkar was charged with conspiracy.

Van Doren said she believes the result of the trial in Syracuse will support the case for awarding the winnings to Miles, who is a recovering substance abuser.

"I think the trial backs Robert Miles," Van Doren said. "We don't have to be any more of a part of it than the fact that we found Andy Ashkar guilty of the possession of stolen property - a B level felony. That's our part in all this. The rest is up to the New York State Lottery and I'm sure, I'm so confident that they're going to do the right thing. And I hope that Rob uses whatever winnings he does get to enhance his life."


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