SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) -- The man who may have a legitimate claim to a $5 million Lottery jackpot will have to wait, perhaps for months, before he can try to claim his prize, according to New York State Lottery officials.
According to the Onondaga County District Attorney's office, the man gave up his winning ticket in 2006 to Andy Askhar, who was working at his family's Green Ale Market and convinced the man that the ticket had only won him $5,000. The man accepted $4,000 for the ticket. Ashkar and his brother, Nayel, allegedly sat on the ticket until right before the six-year deadline for claiming the prize.
The brothers have been charged with conspiracy and attempted grand larceny. They are free on bail of $25,000.
Bill Murray, general counsel for the New York State Lottery, told NewsChannel 9 that "the Lottery is awaiting the outcome of the investigation and the prosecution" before taking any action, including awarding the prize to the rightful winner.
Meantime, Lottery officials pulled the plug Wednesday on ticket sales at the Ashkars' parents' store, the Green Ale Market. Lottery spokeswoman Christy Calicchia said that the lottery ticket sales terminal at the store was deactivated and the store's license to sell Lottery tickets was suspended.
A letter sent to the Ashkars by the Lottery said that the license will remain suspended while the criminal case continues and that the Lottery recommends that the store's license should be revoked afterwards.