Palestine immigrant sentenced for stealing lottery jackpot
Andy Ashkar is heading to federal prison for 25 years after he pleaded guilty to stealing a $5 million jackpot. In 2006, the 35-year-old Palestine immigrant worked as a cashier at a Syracuse-based convenience store. A customer had won a $5 million cash prize thanks to a lucky scratch-card. Ashkar however told Robert Miles that the winning lottery ticket awarded $5,000 in cash.
The store worker took the winning ticket after paying the customer. Ashkar cashed in the ticket before the prize claim period expired. In 2011, the Camillus resident visited the lottery office in order to claim the staggering cash prize. Lottery executives informed authorities after Ashkar was unable to answer standard questions.
Judge Joseph Fahey criticized his greediness. “So far, I have never dealt with a case that is impregnated by so much greed,” Fahey stated in court. He added that Ashkar had an annual salary of $150,000, while Miles was employed as a concierge in a building near the corner shop. Fahey ordered Ashkar to serve 25 years in prison.
Robert Durr, who represented Ashkar in court, revealed that they would challenge the decision. Beth Van Doren, the assistant district attorney, was pleased with the sentence. “Justice has been done and this sentence underlines that we don’t accept such deeds,” Van Doren said. Lottery officials revealed that the unlucky lottery winner would finally receive his jackpot.