LISBON The brother of an East Liverpool business owner pleaded guilty in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Tuesday to theft involving a scam to short the Ohio Lottery out of nearly $10,000.
Ashraf M. Fahmawi, 27, Tippecanoe Road, Canfield, pleaded guilty to theft.
Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart said additional counts of telecommunications fraud and receiving stolen property will be dropped following the sentencing hearing. He plans to recommend three years of probation. Weikart also plans to prohibit Fahmawi from being allowed to sell lottery tickets or operate a lottery terminal as part of his probation.
Fahmawi, who is not a U.S. citizen, was warned by Judge C. Ashley Pike that pleading guilty to a felony could jeopardize his ability to stay in the United States. Until sentencing, Fahmawi was granted permission to go to Texas, where his attorney Ronald Yarwood said he is taking college classes. Bond will be continued until his sentencing hearing set for Nov. 25.
Court documents allege Fahmawi, a clerk at the Lisbon Street Market, Lisbon Street, East Liverpool, and his brother, Saleh Fahmawi, 28, the owner and operator of the store, were presented with a winning lottery ticket by an undercover investigator on Aug. 23, 2012.
The brothers validated the ticket using an Ohio Lottery terminal, printed a file claim ticket and told the undercover investigator he won only $25. The ticket was a $10,000 winner. The $25 was paid in cash to the agent.
Then a woman, Rouz Elkady, Saleh's girlfriend, reportedly filed a claim for the $10,000 at the Ohio Lottery Commission office in Youngstown on Sept. 7.
Both Elkady, 25, Austintown, and Saleh Fahmawi, of Austintown, are also facing charges. Saleh Fahmawi is charged with the same three charges as his younger brother. A plea hearing is set in his case next week.
Elkady is charged with receiving stolen property and complicity to theft. Her case is set for a status conference in November.