Arrest Related To New York Bank Fraud
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) _ A Lebanese student at Ohio University has been accused of being part of a nine-state bank fraud scheme headquartered in New York, FBI agents say.
Isa Ayoub, 25, was arrested here Wednesday night and was scheduled for a bond hearing in federal court in Columbus, the FBI said.
Ayoub and two men who were arrested in August in the New York City area allegedly opened bank accounts with bad checks, then withdrew money before the checks cleared, sometimes by wiring the money to other banks, said FBI agent Terence Dinan of Cincinnati.
The FBI said the men are accused of trying to defraud banks in Ohio, West Virginia, Connecticut, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
An FBI complaint filed in New York did not identify the banks, and FBI spokesman Lawrence Welk in New Rochelle, N.Y., said he did not know how much the banks might have lost.
All the men were in the United States on student visas and could be deported if convicted, FBI officials said.
In August, authorities arrested Enad Nayef Hazeem, 24, in Bronxville, N.Y., and Mohammed Ghannad, 24, with no permanent U.S. address, on federal charges that they tried to defraud an Irvington, N.Y., branch of the Bank of New York by wiring a bad $63,000 check to a bank near Dallas.
Welk said the investigation also led to the Aug. 29 arrest in Westchester County, N.Y., of Samer Zraik, who was living in the Bronx, N.Y., on a related charge of mail fraud.
FBI officials allege that Zraik, a Palestinian, mailed a fraudulent college transcript from a New York state college to provide bogus identification to aid the check scam.
Hazeem and Ghannad were arraigned in late August before U.S. District Judge Joel Tyler in White Plains, N.Y., the FBI said. The men are awaiting trial on charges of bank fraud, which carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
Hazeem and Ghannad entered the United States on student visas in the early 1980s from Jordan and face deportation hearings, Welk said.