Man sentenced in theft of $5 million lottery ticket

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SYRACUSE -- A former auto dealership manager convicted of possessing an apartment complex maintenance worker's winning $5 million New York lottery ticket was sentenced yesterday to up to 25 years in prison by a judge who cited his "rapacious greed."

The Onondaga County District Attorney's Office said Andy Ashkar, 35, of Camillus, was sentenced yesterday morning to the maximum sentence of 8 years, 4 months to 25 years for having the ticket that was stolen from his parents' convenience store in Syracuse in October 2006.

Onondaga County Court Judge Joseph Fahey, who convicted Ashkar of criminal possession of stolen property during a non-jury trial in May, told him, "You exhibited some of the most rapacious greed I've seen in a long, long time."

Prosecutors said Ashkar, a former finance manager at a Syracuse-area auto dealership, had stolen the winning scratch-off ticket from the real winner, Robert Miles. Lottery officials said Tuesday they're in the "final stages" of the verification process that will determine if the ticket belongs to Miles.

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Ashkar's brother, Nayel, was cleared of conspiracy charges during the same trial. Their father, Nayef, owner of the store where the ticket was sold, is charged with conspiracy. He has a separate trial scheduled for September.

Police and lottery officials said the Ashkar brothers persuaded Miles, a maintenance worker at an apartment complex near the store, that the ticket was worth only $5,000 when Miles bought it in 2006. The brothers paid Miles $4,000, took a $1,000 handling fee, then waited until the ticket was about to expire before trying to claim the jackpot in 2012, prosecutors said.

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