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Northern NY

Brothers involved in lottery scam arraigned

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Brothers involved in lottery scam arraigned
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- The two brothers involved in an alleged $5 million scratch-off scam pleaded not guilty in Onondaga County Court.

Andy Ashkar was arraigned on a first degree criminal possession charge Wednesday morning. His brother, Nayel, was officially charged with first degree attempted grand larceny.

The two are accused of scamming a customer out of a $5 million winning ticket by saying it was only worth $5,000. This happened back in 2006 at the Green Ale Market, which is owned by their parents.

The victim was paid $4,000 after being told there was a $1,000 fee.

According to investigators, six years later the brothers planned to illegally claim the actual prize money from the State Lottery. The defense attorney in the case says the brothers did nothing wrong.

"Keep in mind that this was in the allotted, specified time that lottery people say you can turn in your ticket. And my clients had reason, to which I previously mentioned. The safety of the family, and the religious reason," said defense attorney Bob Durr.

The victim has not yet been named, and the ultimate fate of the winnings is still in question.

Meanwhile, both suspects are being held on $25,000 cash bail. They will be back in court Thursday.

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