False info in New York lottery led to arrest in $6.1m scam
SYRACUSE, New York (AP) - The New York State Lottery put out false information to snare two brothers of Palestinian descent accused of scamming a customer out of a winning US$5 million (S$6.1 million) scratch-off ticket.
Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman put out the bogus story last month, saying that 34-year-old Andy Ashkar legitimately bought the ticket in 2006 but waited several years before trying to claim the prize in March. Ashkar planned to share the money with his brother, 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar, according to the Lottery.
District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said Lottery officials used the media to get the real winner to come forward after suspecting that the Ashkars were not the legitimate winners partly because they asked for a lesser amount if they skipped a news conference.
The brothers pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of attempted grand larceny, conspiracy and possession of stolen property.