SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A central New York maintenance worker duped out of a winning $5 million scratch-off ticket will get his money next month, seven years after being scammed out of the jackpot, state lottery officials said Thursday.
The Gaming Commission has verified that the ticket belongs to Robert Miles of Syracuse, officials at the agency said. He's expected to receive his jackpot within the next couple of weeks.
Miles bought the ticket bought in October 2006 at a Syracuse convenience store owned by Nayef Ashkar. Ashkar's two sons, Andy and Nayel, convinced Miles the ticket only was worth $5,000 and paid him $4,000 for it, authorities said. The brothers waited until 2012 to claim the jackpot, prompting an investigation by lottery officials.
Andy Ashkar, 35, of Camillus was sentenced five weeks ago to up to 25 years in prison for possessing the stolen ticket. He and Nayel, now 37, were cleared of conspiracy charges this year but Andy was found guilty of possessing stolen property.
Their father pleaded guilty this month to filing a false instrument, admitting he lied in a state lottery affidavit.
Miles came forward last year after lottery officials announced that the Ashkar brothers had the winning ticket. During the siblings' trial, Miles testified that he was addicted to crack cocaine when he bought the ticket and was confused by what had happened to him when the Ashkars took it. In 2008, Miles filed for bankruptcy.
Miles, who works at a Syracuse apartment complex, couldn't be reached for comment. His lawyer told The Post-Standard of Syracuse that Miles was given the news this week and was "elated the lottery prize has finally been awarded to him."
The winning ticket for the $5,000,000 Extravaganza scratch-off game originally would have been paid out as a $250,000 annuity over 20 years, Gaming Commission officials said. But because of a change implemented by the lottery this year, Miles will have the option of selecting a lump-sum payment of $3,210,000 that would yield $2,124,378 after taxes.