Co-worker of $5 million lottery ticket winner testifies in day 4 of lottery ticket trial
By Alex Dunbar
Nayel Ashkar, 36, and Andy Ashkar, 34, are accused of swindling a customer out of a $5 million winning lottery ticket in October, 2006
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 16:40:51 GMT — The trial of two brothers charged with stealing a winning $5 million scratch-off lottery ticket from the man who may have bought it at the Syracuse store owned by the siblings' father continued into its fourth day in Onondaga County Court on Thursday. A co-worker of Robert Miles testified Thursday that he saw the lottery ticket Miles bought and the Ashkar??s store, Green Ale Market, and believed it was worth $5,000,000. Miles claims he was swindled out of the winning lottery ticket. Ramon Rosario, worked with Robert Miles at the Parkside Commons apartment complex in 2006, said he went to Green Ale Market with Miles to buy lottery tickets in October 2006. Rosario testified that he and Miles waited until they had crossed the street to scratch off the tickets they purchased. Rosario said Miles immediately became excited and saying he won. Rosario testified that when he looked at the ticket, he noticed that Miles had not completely scratched off the ticket. Rosario said Miles thought he won $5,000 but Rosario told him, "there??s a comma, there??s got to be more zeros." Rosario said he told Miles he believed the ticket was worth $5,000,000. He also believed Miles may have been high on drugs that day. Rosario said Miles regularly used crack cocaine in 2006. When Miles came back from the store with only $4,000, Rosario said he told Miles he was robbed, but "I didn??t want to keep arguing with him if he thought it was a $5,000 ticket." Rosario said he asked Miles to see a lottery receipt from the Ashkar??s store but that Miles did not have one. On cross examination, Rosario admitted that he never contact the police or lottery officials to tell them about the $5,000,000 ticket and that he continued going to the Ashkar??s store after the incident. When pressed by defense attorney Robert Duerr about the ticket Miles had bought, Rosario said, "I know what I saw, and it wasn??t $5,000."A lottery employee also testified that the lottery's rules prohibit a retailer from paying out any winning lottery ticket worth more than $600. Lottery retailers are told to send owners of those tickets to a lottery office to redeem them. The lottery employee also said that Andy Ashkar has turned over five winning lottery tickets worth $1000 or more since 2006. Testimony heard on Wednesday focused on Miles, man who claims he was the actual lottery winner. Miles testified that he remembered buying the ticket and said he immediately it was worth $5 million but claims Andy Ashkar told him it was only worth $5,000, and that Andy said he would cash it for Miles. Testimony heard on Tuesday focused on the way the New York Lottery handled the Ashkar's winning claim, when they came forward in March, 2012, just two weeks after the rights to the prize would have expired.Their fate is in the hands of a judge as this week's trial in Onondaga County Court is a bench trial.Their father, Nayef Ashkar, is accused of helping his sons and was arraigned in March on two counts of with fourth degree conspiracy.
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