Syracuse: Palestinian lottery crooks thought their scam made sense (in their world!)

There is lots of interesting information in this story, and some questions.  First, I want to know where are all the Palestinians coming from?  We didn’t previously take Palestinian refugees.   So, what LEGAL immigration program are they using to get in?

Seems that two Palestinian brothers in Syracuse whose parents own a convenience store (ah-hah a convenience store again, there is a tip-off) scammed the legitimate owner of a $5 million lottery ticket out of his ticket.  Suspecting a fraud, the authorities then put out a bogus news story to smoke out the crooks causing some journalists to fret about whether that was ethical.

Without further ado, here is the story (hat tip: first to Gary, then a second reader who discovered a story where the reporter had the guts to reveal the nationality of the perps.).

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — The New York State Lottery put out false information to snare two Syracuse-area brothers accused of scamming a customer out of a winning $5 million scratch-off ticket.

Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman put out the bogus story last month, saying that 34-year-old Andy Ashkar legitimately bought the ticket in 2006 but waited several years before trying to claim the prize in March. Ashkar planned to share the money with his brother, 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar, according to the Lottery.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said Lottery officials used the media to get the real winner to come forward after suspecting that the Ashkars were not the legitimate winners partly because they asked for a lesser amount if they skipped a news conference.

The brothers pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of attempted grand larceny, conspiracy and possession of stolen property. Officials allege they duped the real winner, a 49-year-old married father of two, when he tried to cash in the ticket.

The Ashkars’ lawyer, Bob Durr, said his clients maintain they bought the ticket legitimately and had good reason for not immediately cashing the winning ticket.

Feared potential embarrassment in their small Palestinian Muslim community from winning at gambling, a forbidden practice!

Fitzpatrick said the ticket owner came forward after the lottery’s planted story went public. He said the man had been fooled into giving up the winning ticket when he went to cash it at the Ashkar family’s Green Ale market in October 2006.

Fitzpatrick said Andy Ashkar told the man he had won $5,000 and successfully offered him $4,000 in cash to avoid taxes and other complications.

The brothers’ lawyer said Wednesday they did not immediately cash in the ticket because they worried about the family’s safety in the rough neighborhood if it became know they had come into money and about the potential embarrassment in their small Palestinian Muslim community from winning at gambling, a forbidden practice.

“They don’t understand why this is happening,” Durr said. “They think everything they did made sense in their world.” [So, what is their world versus our world?–ed]

According to the state lottery division’s original account, Andy Ashkar claimed in March that he bought the ticket at his parents’ convenience store in Syracuse in 2006, decided to share it with his brother, and delayed claiming the prize until shortly before it would have expired because he didn’t want the money to influence his engagement and subsequent marriage.

We are now taking small numbers of Palestinian refugees.  We didn’t previously take many because as long-time readers here know the Arabs would have a fit if we started taking too many because everyone knows they remain as “refugees” in Gaza—sixty years after they left their homes in what is now Israel— for the purpose of keeping a thorn in the side of Israel.

I just checked the stats at WRAPS (using the data for destination city by nationality by fiscal year) and it seems Syracuse has gotten a total of 4,986 refugees of all nationalities since 2007  and 102 Palestinians were distributed around New York state which had a total of over 22,000 refugees, again of all nationalities, resettled there in that time span.

However, it’s possible that this pair are not refugees but that the parents’ convenience store is part of the burgeoning foreign investment we allow into the US.  We give a special “treaty” visa for anyone (from certain countries) coming in to start a business (even if he/she is only employing a few family members).  Jordon is a Treaty investor visa country, here, and Jordon has a substantial Palestinian population, so that could be the explanation for how they got here and purchased a store (and the right to stay!).

There are also many other visa programs, here, through which the Ashkar brothers could have gotten into the US.

Question is, can we now deport them?  (after they do time that is)

Germany: Asylum seekers continue to “camp out” at Brandenburg Gate

We first reported the story here last month.

Now, it’s getting cold and they are still there demanding ‘stuff’ from Germans who aren’t giving them a large enough allowance they say.

From Deutsche Welle:

Frustrated at their treatment at the hands of the German authorities, a group of asylum seekers is protesting in Berlin. They have now been camping for nearly a month in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

Asylum-seekers in Germany are entitled to a 134 euros (around $170 USD) allowance per month. [In addition to shelter and food—ed].  They say this isn’t enough. Normally, they are not allowed to leave their refugee accommodation either.

We then learn about Mirsai, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, who doesn’t bother staying in Afghanistan to help fix his own country.  Heck we have Americans dying there to help fix “his” country so why can’t he stay?

When Mirsai first arrived in Germany, he landed at Munich airport. Carrying a fake passport, and was immediately arrested by police.

“Well, I knew it was a risk, it was a big risk. And I knew what would happen,” he told DW. “But I had to do it because I had to save my life and that’s why I tried.”

He came to Germany expecting to learn the language, go to school, and find a job. Instead, he was packed into a home with other asylum-seekers. His allowance is barely enough to get by on. His German is still rudimentary and authorities don’t pay for lessons.

Mirsai went on a week-long hunger strike before setting off to Berlin. He had to be tube fed at a hospital. When he got to Berlin he went on hunger strike again.

I wonder how much his hospital stay cost the German taxpayer?