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NY brothers claim $5M win from '06 lottery ticket

New York LotteryNew York Lottery: NY brothers claim $5M win from '06 lottery ticket
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Two brothers kept quiet for six years about the $5 million winning lottery ticket they'd bought at their parents' store in Syracuse.

Andy N. Ashkar, 34, of Camillus, and his brother, Nayel N. Ashkar, 36, of Cicero, came forward March 1 of this year to claim the $5 million top prize in the $500,000,000 Extravaganza scratch-off game, lottery officials said.

That was 11 days before the prize would've expired.

"It's unusual, highly unusual," lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman said Tuesday of the six-year lapse on such a large prize.

Andy Ashkar bought the ticket at his parents' Green Ale Market at 2208 E. Fayette St. in Syracuse, in 2006, the lottery said.

Ashkar delayed redeeming it until March 1 of this year, at the lottery's customer service center in Schenectady. The prize would've expired March 12, Hapeman said.

The reason for the delay, according to the lottery's news release: Ashkar was concerned that the winning ticket "could negatively influence his life if he did not plan properly before being publicly introduced."

Ashkar said he did not want the winning ticket to influence his engagement and then marriage, according to the news release.

"The younger brother also said that during that time, he decided to share his winnings with his brother, Nayel, to show his appreciation for all that Nayel had done for him during his life," the news release said.

The lottery's announcement of the winning ticket was delayed for seven months partly because its security unit investigated for possible fraud, as it does whenever the winner is someone related to the owner of the store that sold the ticket, Hapeman said.

"It's part of our routine procedure to put that on retailer hold, where our investigators contact the folks who presented the winning ticket, and also the people from the store," Hapeman said.

After its investigation, which included taking sworn statements from the winners, the lottery determined the scratch-off ticket was bought legitimately, she said.

Sara Ashkar, the wife of Nayel Ashkar, answered the door Tuesday at their home in Cicero. She said news of her family's winnings was spreading fast. Holding both her landline house phone and cell phone, she said family and friends had been calling all afternoon to express their surprise and excitement.

"It's crazy," she said. "Hard to believe. It's still sinking in." She said she's known about the winning ticket for some time but didn't know the announcement would be Tuesday. Nayel Ashkar said he and his brother want to wait for the press conference to tell their story. He didn't know when the press conference would be.

The Ashkars declined to comment further. Andy Ashkar could not be reached for comment.

Andy Ashkar is the business manager at Romano Toyota in East Syracuse. Nayel Ashkar is finance manager at Honda of Ithaca.

Nayel and Sara Ashkar paid $236,000 for their house in Cicero in March 2008, according to The Post-Standard's archives. Andy Ashkar paid $290,000 for his house in Camillus in August 2011, according to the archives.

Lottery officials are aware of gimmicks that retailers have tried to use with scratch-off tickets, Hapeman said. One involves retailers or their associates checking the bar codes on the tickets to look for winners before scratching them off.

That can still be done, "but not without us knowing about it," Hapeman said. Ohio lottery officials last month announced that undercover investigators had caught a dozen clerks and store owners using barcode scanning to steal winnings. They would scan customers' tickets, see that they were winners, then lie to the customers that they weren't. The clerks or owners would then claim the winnings for themselves or their friends.

The New York Lottery regularly changes its security measures to detect fraud, Hapeman said. Lottery officials have uncovered cases of retailers who weren't entitled to the tickets they were claiming, and those people were denied the prize, she said.

"There are as many things to look out for as there are retailers and human beings and all their frailties," Hapeman said. "We just have to make sure our security unit does due diligence. They're trained in ways to protect all of our lottery players."

The lottery will launch an investigation any time it has information that a winning ticket went to the retailer himself, one of his employees, a relative or even a friend of his family, Hapeman said.

"Just in fairness to everyone," she said.

The Green Ale Market, where Andy Ashkar bought the winning ticket, is a rundown store in a tough neighborhood. It was closed and dark Tuesday afternoon. No hours or closed sign was posted. Several customers, including a young boy with a fistful of dollar bills, approached the store and were surprised to see it closed. A cooler with soft drinks and gallons of milk could be seen through the gated front door.

A pile of leaves and a discarded scratch-off ticket sat in the corner of the market's locked entryway.

The lottery had to rush the announcement about the Ashkars because of media inquiries, Hapeman said.

She noted that with all prizes of $1 million or more, the office requires players to attend a news conference to discuss the prize claim and participate in a check presentation.

But the lottery said it has not yet determined a date for the news conference. The brothers are willing to participate, Hapeman said. She didn't know where they kept the $5 million ticket for six years.

Post-Standard

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164 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by helpmewin.
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egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
United States
Member #112972
June 29, 2011
3059 Posts
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Posted: October 17, 2012, 9:34 am - IP Logged

WTH ? tickets are good for 6 years in NY. ?

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

    Original Bey's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg

    Bahamas
    Member #133467
    September 30, 2012
    4937 Posts
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    Posted: October 17, 2012, 9:40 am - IP Logged

    I find it interesting that it took them just 11 days short of the deadline to get their act together. What that money would have done for them 5+ years ago will never do for them today.

    "Everything works  ONCE!"

      helpmewin's avatar - dandy
      DON'T HATE THE PLAYA HATE THE GAME
      u$a
      United States
      Member #106669
      February 22, 2011
      16290 Posts
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      Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:00 am - IP Logged

      Congrats! to them,,, hope they spend  the money wisely.Dance

                       

        golfer1960's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcRrT_aqD1AR0JipFSPNrYwpV7HY4uVoKxOgcUYLzZ3SEdif
        Eatontown, NJ
        United States
        Member #119675
        November 29, 2011
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        Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:05 am - IP Logged

        The ticket is good for 6-years? How could that be and why did this story leave that important information out?

        I don't appreciate that the article releases where they live, work and how much they paid for their houses!

        Doesn't that go beyond releasing enough information about the winners to keep the game fair?


          United States
          Member #116272
          September 7, 2011
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          Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:13 am - IP Logged

          I smell a rat.

            surimaribo24's avatar - img1901pn
            NEW YORK. RIVERHEAD
            United States
            Member #106375
            February 17, 2011
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            Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:14 am - IP Logged

            pretty strange when did liljimys extended their deadline to cash in tickets ... weird

            PETS#=105-215

              Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
              Chief Bottle Washer
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #1
              May 31, 2000
              21228 Posts
              Online
              Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:14 am - IP Logged

              It's a scratch game.

              Scratch games expire a year (or 6 months, or whatever the state's expiration period is) after the game ends.  Obviously, that game was being sold for at least five years.

              These days, most states end their scratch games after a shorter period, but I guess the NY Lottery kept that one open for a while -- probably because of the missing big winner, who ironically was holding on to the winning ticket purposely.

               

              Check the State Lottery Report Card
              What grade did your lottery earn?

               

              Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
              Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                zinniagirl's avatar - flower avatar_0026.jpg
                nc
                United States
                Member #99522
                October 26, 2010
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                Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:21 am - IP Logged

                The ticket is good for 6-years? How could that be and why did this story leave that important information out?

                I don't appreciate that the article releases where they live, work and how much they paid for their houses!

                Doesn't that go beyond releasing enough information about the winners to keep the game fair?

                How much you paid for your house and it's adress is all public information here.  All you have to do is go on the county GIS reality information program and you can even see if they paid their last tax bill and how much.


                  United States
                  Member #111446
                  May 25, 2011
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                  Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:22 am - IP Logged

                  Having a scratch game go on for several years is not that unusual.

                  There are several Massachusetts $20 scratchers which began in 2007-2008, that are still being sold today.

                  States of this size sell upwards of 20 million+ tickets for some of the bigger games, and it takes time to sell them all.

                  Two of these games are the "Billion Dollar Blockbuster" and "Billion Dollar Bonanza".  (Both $20 scratchers).


                    United States
                    Member #116272
                    September 7, 2011
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                    Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:26 am - IP Logged

                    People do continue to buy tickets based on an outstanding big winner.........

                    I'm sure the state was very happy to sell all those unwanted tickets.


                      United States
                      Member #111446
                      May 25, 2011
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                      Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:29 am - IP Logged

                      I smell a rat.

                      Are you sure it isn't some sweet pink swine?  Hippy

                        helpmewin's avatar - dandy
                        DON'T HATE THE PLAYA HATE THE GAME
                        u$a
                        United States
                        Member #106669
                        February 22, 2011
                        16290 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:36 am - IP Logged

                        The ticket is good for 6-years? How could that be and why did this story leave that important information out?

                        I don't appreciate that the article releases where they live, work and how much they paid for their houses!

                        Doesn't that go beyond releasing enough information about the winners to keep the game fair?

                        I Agree! TMI... but i am pretty sure they moved by now. Leaving

                                         


                          United States
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                          September 7, 2011
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                          Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:43 am - IP Logged

                          Are you sure it isn't some sweet pink swine?  Hippy

                          It could just be a little fishy What?

                            Avatar

                            United States
                            Member #26330
                            November 16, 2005
                            330 Posts
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                            Posted: October 17, 2012, 10:45 am - IP Logged

                            I smell a rat.

                            I'm with you. Something smells fishy! Not saying the winners did anything but.....   Who waits 6 years during an awful econ. like this to cash in on a huge lifeline like this?  Why wait 11days before the end of the game?  The ticket was purchased at the Parents store.   How easy would it be for them to tell a customer the winning ticket was only worth $20 and pocket the ticket.  Then wait to see if the customer realizes the mistake...and if they do just say sorry and hand the ticket back.  After 6 years who is going to remember no video would still exist so they can come up with a story about waiting to get everything in order and cash the ticket.  What some people won't do for a couple Million bucks........

                             

                             

                            BSOn the other Hand I'm probably full of it!!  LOL    Congrats to the winners.