Whenever a lottery player realizes they have won the jackpot, he or she always finds a safe place to hide to secret the ticket before they can claim their prize. In the latest lottery news this week however one poor winner nearly lost his ticket to an unscrupulous staff member at his local store.
Robert Miles of Syracuse, New York bought a scratch-off ticket in his local convenience store in October 2006. He realized he had won money and recognized the sum was a life-changing $5 million. Shop assistant Andy Ashkar, son of the store’s owners, managed to persuade Miles that he had in fact only won $5000 and offered to buy it off him for $4000.
Strangely the latest lottery news shows that Ashkar waited five years to claim the winnings. In March 2012 he finally turned up at the lottery office and offered to take a lesser amount in return for anonymity.
The lottery authorities smelt a rat and issued a news release to see if anyone else claimed the ticket. Robert Miles contacted the police, who then approached the lottery company on behalf of Miles.
During a long trial, a colleague of Robert Miles, Ramon Rosario, testified that he had been with Miles outside the store when they scratched off the two cards they had bought and that Mile shad become excited when he realized he had won the jackpot. Miles then returned alone into the store. The situation was further complicated by the fact that Miles and Rosario had been using drugs that day.
Ashkar was finally sentenced in July this year to a minimum of eight and a third years with a possible maximum of 25 years for the fraud. Unfortunately Robert Miles’ troubles were not yet over as it was only on the 23 August that the latest lottery news reported that a judge finally decided he was entitled to the winnings.
Miles told the court, “For 6 years I suffered, my family suffered, because I was taken advantage of.”
Ashkar took advantage of the rule that says stores can only pay out up to $600 in winnings and any higher amount has to claimed directly from the lottery administrators.
It is not clear what Robert Miles will do with his winnings but no doubt the latest lottery news will report his intentions. I should imagine he is just relieved that his ordeal is over.