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      Andy Ashkar sentenced for possessing stolen $5 million lottery ticket

      Andy Ashkar
      A man convicted of possessing another man's winning $5 million scratch-off lottery ticket was sentenced in Onondaga County Court.

      35-year-old Andy Ashkar, of Camillus, was sentenced Tuesday morning to a minimum of 8 and 1/3 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison, the maximum sentence, for having the ticket that was stolen from Robert Miles at his parents' convenience store, Green Ale Market, in Syracuse in October 2006.

      Robert Miles addressed the court during the sentencing. "For 6 years I suffered, my family suffered, because I was taken advantage of," said Miles.

      The lottery has not stated yet who will get the winning lottery jackpot. Miles' lawyers say they are confident he will be awarded the jackpot.

      Ashkar was convicted in May of criminal possession of stolen property. Prosecutors said Ashkar had stolen the winning scratch-off ticket from Miles, the real winner. Lottery officials say they're close to determining whether the ticket belongs to Miles.

      Ashkar and his brother were cleared of conspiracy charges.

      Prosecutors argued at trial that the brothers scammed Miles out of the winning ticket by telling Miles he won $5,000 and giving him $4,000 for the ticket. Ashkar testified that he didn??t steal the ticket or have any contact with Miles.

      Miles testified that he often purchased lottery tickets from the Green Ale Market and remembers buying the ticket, scratching it off, and realizing it was worth $5 million. Miles said he showed the ticket to Ashkar, who told him it was only worth $5,000 and cashed it for him for $4,000.

      Prosecutors argued that Ashkar waited over five years, until March 2012, to claim the jackpot at a Lottery office in Schenectady. Ashkar said he waited to cash in the ticket because he "had a lot going on." A lottery employee testified that Ashkar said he was willing to take a lesser amount in exchange for remaining anonymous.

      The Lottery was contacted by Syracuse Police on behalf of Miles after the lottery out a news release about the winning ticket, without being sure of the winners, to see if anyone else would come forward to claim the ticket.

      (Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)