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Man accused of stealing $6M from state coffers

A 35-year-old man accused of stealing almost $6-million from state coffers was arrested Monday in Miami, just minutes before he was due to leave the country on an international flight.

Ali Hammoud has been indicted in Tallahassee federal court, accused of transferring funds payable to a state road contractor into an account in his own name. The funds allegedly were transmitted to an account in Lebanon.

Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, announced the arrest late Monday, saying her Department of Financial Services has asked Regions Bank, Wachovia Bank and Bank of America to freeze any funds transferred as a result of the scam.

"We're grateful the FBI responded swiftly and arrested this individual," Sink said. "We are working hand in hand with the U.S. attorney and others to assure that this case is successfully prosecuted."

A representative for Sink refused to answer questions about how Hammoud got access to state funds and would not say whether he was a state employee. His name is not listed in an online directory of state employees.

In a printed release, acting U.S. Attorney Thomas F. Kirwin said Hammoud has been charged with wire fraud, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Details of the theft were not immediately available from Sink's office or federal prosecutors.

Sink's office oversees the Department of Financial Services, the agency that is responsible for managing state funds.

Man accused of stealing $6M from state coffers 07/28/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:23pm]
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