Two brothers earned national headlines when they waited six years to turn in a $5 million lottery scratch-off card, but it turns out they had good reason to wait: They had allegedly stolen the winning ticket from a customer at their store.
Police said that they ticket turned in by Andy and Navel Ashkar was actually purchased by Robert Miles, a customer at their parents’ Syracuse, New York store, the Green Ale Market. The brothers were arrested on charges of conspiracy and attempted grand larceny in connection with the ticket, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported.
The brother allegedly stole the $5 million lottery ticket from Miles when he tried brought it to the store to check if he won. They told him it was worth $5,000 but that they would take a $1,000 fee for cashing it in for him.
Miles said he knew that the $5 million lottery ticket belonged to him but was in no shape to argue with the Ashkar brothers at the time. He said he had gotten high on crack cocaine the night before and that, if he went to authorities, it would be his word against theirs.
Instead of cashing in the $5 million lottery ticket he rightfully owned, Miles has lived through financial difficulty and even filed for bankruptcy.
“There wasn’t a day go by that I didn’t think about how my life would’ve been,” he told The Post-Standard.
When the Ashkars turned in the ticket last month, the New York Lottery issued a press release about the unusual win, garnering national attention from outlets like NBC News. The brothers claimed that they waited until 11 days before the top prize would have expired because they didn’t want to influence their lives in a negative way.
Meanwhile, friends of Miles saw the news and recognized the ticket as his.
“My friends were all telling me, ‘Wow! That’s your money!’ ” he said.
A police officer who heard about the ticket tracked Miles down, and the Ashkars were arrested.
It is not known whether Miles will receiver the $5 million lottery ticket or not.