Syracuse Brothers Charged in 2-Ply Lottery Scam

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It's bad enough to scam someone out of a $5 million lottery ticket, but two brothers from the Syracuse area are charged with pulling a scam within a scam on a guy who came into their parents' shop to redeem his winnings. The brothers, 34-year-old Andy Ashkar and 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar, reportedly told the original New York Lottery ticket holder he had won $5,000, not $5 million. But they only gave him $4,000 because they said he owed a "fee" of another grand, which they pocketed, the New York Times reports. Then, ticket in hand, they allegedly waited six years — until within days of the ticket's expiration — to finally redeem their own ill-gotten winnings. Fortunately for the original ticket holder, the state lottery officials smelled a rat, and put out an unusually detailed press release about the brothers' win, which the news staff at the Syracuse Post-Standard also thought was fishy, and ran as a front page story last month. It worked: The original winner came forward, the brothers were arrested, and we can only assume that as they were being led away in handcuffs they raved, Scooby Doo style, about how they would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those meddling state lottery officials.