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1 brother guilty in stolen lottery ticket case

SYRACUSE -- One of two brothers accused of conning a man out of a winning $5 million scratch-off ticket was found guilty yesterday of possessing the stolen ticket, but the pair was acquitted of conspiring to cheat him.

Onondaga County Court Judge Joseph Fahey found Andy Ashkar, 35, guilty of possession of stolen property. Fahey cleared Ashkar and his brother Nayel, 37, of conspiracy charges.

Andy Ashkar was remanded to custody. Defense attorney Robert Durr said he would consult with Ashkar and his family and decide whether to appeal.

"I don't know what's going to happen as a result of the court's decision," Durr said.

Andy Ashkar faces a minimum of 1 to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced May 29.

Police and lottery officials said the Ashkar brothers convinced Robert Miles, a maintenance worker, that the ticket was worth only $5,000 when Miles bought it in 2006. Authorities say 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.

Miles testified during the weeklong nonjury trial that Andy Ashkar had taken the ticket from him. Miles said he wasn't thinking clearly that day because he had been high on crack the night before. He said he never got a receipt.

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