Ashkar brothers go to trial following lottery theft allegations

Ashkar brothers

The infamous case of the brothers who stole a $5 million winning ticket finally went to trial and the future doesn’t look too bright for the two of them. During the investigations, the two brothers got impatient and even aggressive, with one of them threatening to destroy the lottery ticket. They are accused of stealing the winning lottery ticket from the rightful owner, more precisely Robert Miles who purchased it at The Green Ale Market. The defendants were working at the aforementioned store at the time, and when the lottery winner stepped forward to claim his prize, they tricked him and only gave him $5000.

Theft and conspiracy charges

The Ashkar brothers who are 36 and 34 years old, tried to deceive the investigators and lottery officials by waiting until the very last moment to claim their prize. Fortunately for Robert Miles their behavior was suspicious enough to prompt the authorities to start an investigation. Lottery officials found the statements made by the two brothers as contradictory and chose not to pay the jackpot until the truth was unveiled without any reasonable doubt.

The defendants and their attorneys are trying to prove that finding the two brothers guilty is not only very difficult but also perilous. They claim that there is no clear evidence that the Ashkars had committed a crime and cites the absence of any witnesses as a strong argument. On the other hand, the prosecutor reminded the jury that absence of proof is not proof of absence and said that the two of them knew exactly what they were doing. Their intention to strip the rightful owner of his money is beyond doubt, and their devious plan would’ve had succeeded if it wasn’t for the vigilance of lottery officials.

Lottery jackpot yet to be paid

Joan China who works for the lottery division told the prosecutor that the Ashkars claimed the money in Schenectady instead of doing so in Syracuse. They failed to provide a convincing answer about where they bought the ticket and refused to sign the necessary papers for the jackpot to be released. She said that to some extent the two brothers looked slightly unhappy, something that she never experienced in all her years as a lottery employee. All winners are thrilled with their good fortune and can hardly control their enthusiasm, but the Ashkar brothers were really concerned about what would happen next.

Another incident that raised the alarm flags was the one in which the two brothers asked for a smaller amount in exchange of avoiding any sort of media attention. This is not something that lottery officials can promise to winners, but the reaction made the two brothers even more suspicious. Their father, Nayef Ashkar is also charged with conspiracy as the authorities suspect that he was aware of what happened and even orchestrated the plan.

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