How far would one go to secure a prize of $5 million, is a question that will probably never find a definitive answer. The reason is that some people are willing to put their freedom at risk when it comes to winning such a jackpot, and this is exactly what two brothers from central New York did six years ago. It is one of those stories that makes you think about how driven people are and how reckless they can turn, when the odds appear to be stacked in their favor.
A family business gone wrong
Andy and Nayel Ashkar were charged by the authorities with second degree attempted grand larceny, and fourth degree conspiracy for deceiving the real winner. The district attorney says that this is a 49-year-old, who went to cash in his winning scratch off ticket in the shop administered by the two brothers. He was under the impression that the ticket make him $5000 richer instead of 5 millions and when Andy and Nayel realized his confusion they quickly took advantage. The winner was presented with $4000 in cash, allegedly to help him avoid the complicated issues of taxation.
It was a fairly neat plan, and Andy Ashkar didn’t rush to cash in his prize, because he didn’t want to raise suspicions over who the actual winner was. When he finally stepped forward and went to the headquarters to cash in on the 5 millions, he said that the winning ticket was acquired in their parents convenience store. His mistake was that he tried to convince lottery officials that he would gladly settle for a lower amount if they would agree to hand him the prize without so much publicity.
The truth finally surfaced
The authorities quickly unveiled the truth and by the time the district attorney was asked to investigate the matter, they were fairly confident that they knew the winner. In order to give him time to properly prepare for the occasion, they didn’t name him yet but it is only a matter of time until this will happen. The challenge is now to find a way of reimbursing him the payouts he missed over the last six years, since the payout consists of 20 annual installments of $250,000.
With the first six years already gone, the winner should receive $1.5 million immediately but the lottery officials are still to come up with a statement on this matter. The two brothers with most likely serve time for their criminal offense, but their lawyer said that they intend to plead not guilty. As far as they are concerned, they stick to the story and claim to be the rightful winners of the ticket, but this is unlikely to save them.