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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scheme to steal millions from taxpayers



A scheme to defraud state taxpayers out of millions of dollars was thwarted by some alert Regions Bank employees and one of the state's biggest road contractors — but not before some of the money was transferred to Beirut, Lebanon.

FBI agents caught Ali Hassan Hammoud, 35, minutes before he was to board an Air France flight to Lebanon, but they were too late to stop the transfer to Lebanon of some of the $5.7-million stolen from the state treasury. The money was transferred in four installments after state officials received bogus paperwork directing them to ship the money to an account Hammoud controlled instead of sending it to Anderson Columbia, a Lake City construction company.

More here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:04am]


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