How brothers made sure $5m lottery prize did not ruin their lives


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The Independent US

Two brothers from New York who won $5m (£3m) on the lottery in 2006 have finally come forward to receive their prize, after waiting for six years to ensure that the windfall didn't "negatively influence" their lives.

Andy and Nayel Ashkar, 34 and 36, bought the winning scratchcard from a convenience store run by their parents in the district of Syracuse on 11 March 2006. Officials have revealed that they only claimed the money on 1 March this year.

The ticket would have expired just 10 days later. A spokesman for the New York Lottery said that the younger of the two was anxious to get his personal affairs in order before being unveiled as the winner of its "extravaganza" game.

Andy, who works for a car dealership, was particularly concerned that being publicly known to be a lottery winner might overshadow his engagement and subsequent marriage, the lottery spokesman told reporters.

It was unclear whether the brothers, who had agreed to evenly share any winnings from the ticket, had made even immediate family members aware of their good fortune before claiming the money. Nayel's wife, Sara, told her local newspaper this week that the news was "still sinking in", calling it "crazy" and "hard to believe".

In keeping with their previous policy, Andy and Nayel were not returning calls from reporters yesterday. Their mother, Wasa, told the Associated Press news agency that "of course I'm happy," but refused to comment further because she needed to help customers in her convenience store.