SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The owner of a Syracuse, New York, convenience store was arrested this week on charges of conspiring with his son to steal a $5 million lottery ticket from a man who'd bought it at the store.
Nayef Ashkar, 56, was arrested Tuesday by an investigator with the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office on a charge of fourth-degree conspiracy.
Ashkar agreed with and encouraged his son, Andy Ashkar, in the taking and withholding of the $5 million winning scratch-off ticket from Robert Miles, according to a felony complaint filed this week in Syracuse City Court.
Nayef Ashkar owns the Green Ale Market on East Fayette Street, where the ticket was bought in 2006.
Andy Ashkar, 34, and his brother, Nayel Ashkar, 36, were charged last month with trying to claim Miles' ticket as their own in March. Miles told police he brought the ticket to Andy Ashkar six years at the Green Ale Market and tried to collect. (See NY brothers charged in plot to steal $5M New York Lottery ticket, Lottery Post, Nov. 14, 2012.)
Investigators from the DA's office developed evidence after the brothers' arrests that their father was involved in a conspiracy to cash the lottery ticket, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said today.
Nayef Ashkar "participated in the conspiracy knowing that the thing was stolen and it actually belonged to another individual," Fitzpatrick said.
The father became aware of the ticket after it was stolen by his sons, Fitzpatrick said.
Nayef Ashkar was in his store on this afternoon. He acknowledged that he'd been arrested and said he was due back in court next week, but would not comment on the charges.
Court records show he was released on his own recognizance on the conspiracy charge, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
Miles, 47, said last month that he knew the ticket was worth $5 million when he brought it to the store in 2006. But Andy Ashkar told him it was worth $5,000, charged him a $1,000 fee and gave Miles $4,000, Miles said.
Andy Ashkar then took the ticket and drove away, with Miles chasing him down the road, Miles said.
Miles said he'd been high on crack cocaine the night before and wasn't in a condition to do much to try to keep the ticket. He said he no longer uses drugs.
Miles said he went back into the store once and asked about his winning ticket. Nayef Ashkar and his wife, Wafa, told him they didn't know what he was talking about, Miles said. He said he never went to the police about the case because he knew it would be his word against the Ashkars' until they came forward with the ticket.
Miles filed for bankruptcy in 2008, knowing that he should have been a multimillionaire.
The Ashkar brothers each face charges of attempted grand larceny and conspiracy. Andy Ashkar is also facing a charge of criminal possession of stolen property.
Thanks to kapla for the tip.