Man who says he bought $5 million ticket takes stand in Ashkhar sibling trial
The case against two brothers accused of stealing a $5 million lottery ticket from a faithful customer at their father's store in Syracuse, continues in Onondaga County Court.
On the third day of testimony, Robert Miles, the man who claims he was swindled out of the winning lottery ticket from Andy and Nayel Ashkar, took the stand.
He says it was a ritual for him to buy lottery tickets at the siblings' father's convenience store, the Green Ale Market, on East Fayette Street.
Miles remembers buying the ticket in October, 2006. He scratched it off, and realized immediately it was worth $5 million.
He says he exclaimed, "I won, I won!"
Miles says he then showed the ticket to now 34-year-old Andy Ashkar. He claims Andy told him it was only worth $5,000, and that Andy said he would cash it for Miles.
Miles remembers Andy returned an hour later, with $4,000. He says he didn't have a receipt.
Miles admits he used crack cocaine the night before he bought the ticket in 2006, and that he had been using the drug for about four to five years.
He remembers being tired the day he bought the winning ticket, but maintains he was well aware of what was going on.
After Andy left, Miles said he realized what happened.
Miles says he didn't come forward until recently because he didn't have any evidence.
He says it would have been Andy's words against his.
Things got heated during the cross-examination of Miles. The judge called it quits for the day, but says Miles will be back on the stand Thursday morning.
Andy Ashkar is charged with criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy, while 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar faces a charge of conspiracy.
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 now 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.