Justice may be cold as ICE

LISBON – With one facing possible deportation and the other losing his business, the brothers accused in a lottery ticket scam at an East Liverpool convenience store were sentenced by Judge C. Ashley Pike in separate hearings Monday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Ashraf M. Fahmawi, 27, Tippecanoe Road, Canfield, was sentenced to 60 days in jail for theft. He was the clerk at the store who reportedly processed the $10,000 winning ticket given to them by an undercover lottery agent and paid out only $25.

His brother, Saleh Fahmawi, 39, is the owner of the store, the Lisbon Street Market in East Liverpool. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail for attempted theft, a misdemeanor charge. He is also prohibited in the future from operating a lottery terminal or having a lottery license.

The elder brother’s attorney, Rhys Cartwright-Jones, argued against the 10-day jail sentence Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart had requested.

“He almost lost his marriage, he saw his brother taken into (Department of Homeland Security) custody, he lost his business,” Cartwright-Jones argued. “He’s been punished pretty severely. I don’t know that 10 additional days incarceration are necessary.

Both brothers’ attorneys, Cartwright-Jones and Ronald Yarwood, emphasized the fact that there was no real victim or loss of money by the actions of their clients.

“It was not a legitimate ticket, but I would argue it was a legitimate scam,” Weikart countered.

Yarwood told Pike that his client, Ashraf Fahmawi, agrees not to pursue an appeal in this matter, which would close this case and allow immigration authorities to take him into custody soon. Pike agreed that if during the 60-day period, if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wanted him, Fahmawi would be released. Yarwood said Fahmawi was not waiving his right to appeal deportation.

Weikart said ICE has expressed interest in deporting Ashraf Fahmawi, who is now convicted of a fourth-degree felony. It is unknown if ICE came for Fahmawi at this point, despite Cartwright-Jones’ statement.

Although both brothers had Canfield addresses at the time of the indictments, both stated they are living now in Cleveland. The elder brother is reportedly working at a gas station and his attorney requested seven days in order to get his affairs in order before reported to the county jail. Pike granted the request.