Lottery prize claimed after 6 years

Oct. 17, 2012 at 5:08 PM

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- New York state lottery officials said a pair of brothers cashed in a 6-year-old ticket with a $5 million prize only 11 days before it would have expired.

Officials said brothers Andy Ashkar, 34, of Camillus purchased a $500,000,000 Extravaganza scratch-off game ticket six years ago at his parents' Green Ale Market in Syracuse and came forward last March 1, 11 days before the prize would have expired, The (Syracuse) Post-Standard reported Wednesday.

Ashkar hung onto the ticket for so long because he was concerned the prize "could negatively influence his life if he did not plan properly before being publicly introduced," the lottery said.

Officials said Ashkar did not want his new-found wealth to affect his engagement and subsequent marriage.

While waiting to redeem the prize, Ashkar decided to share the ticket with his brother, Nayel, 36, of Cicero.

"The younger brother also said that during that time, he decided to share his winnings with his brother, Nayel, to show his appreciation for all that Nayel had done for him during his life," the news release said.

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