Skip to comments.Defense attorneys outraged as terror case switches to fraud (Michigan Mackinac Bridge case)
Posted on 08/17/2006 9:15:23 PM PDT by idsujmxzcg
BAY CITY -- Lawyers for three Texas men once accused of plotting to blow up the Mackinac Bridge claim the government is bailing out an overzealous prosecutor by bringing unprecedented charges.
Until Wednesday, even the FBI said the business of buying and altering cell phones -- as the men claim was their only motive -- was a legal enterprise, and that the only issue was whether proceeds end up in terrorist coffers.
But now, the FBI and U.S. attorneys in Bay City say the entrepreneurial behavior of three Americans of Palestinian descent amounts to fraud, not terrorism.
(Excerpt) Read more at mlive.com ...
Now in this case the local prosecuter has made an ass out of himself and now the feds are bailing him out. Watch this fraud charge be quietly dropped too after the news cycle has moved on. Turns out that the three guys were not even Palestinian any more than I am German. Each one of them was born right here in the US.
It really frosts me that these guys are facing 20 years because the prosecutor wanted to be a big hero and blew it. The Feds should be charging the prosecutor with abuse of power.
Welcome to FreeRepublic.
And how many of the guys involved in the recent UK plot were born in England?
Things aren't always what they appear. Little fish, big fish, informants, deals, surveillance opportunities. Courage!
You are German?
Arabs rule Michigan.
How did you choose your screename?
Knew you wouldn't last here long with your terrorist apologetics?
They are dropping the charges because they all have tracers now and are being tracked. We know where everyone of them are and we also know the phone numbers.
This is only a legal enterprise if the people involved had a business license and a resale license and were paying excise tax. Other wise it is tax evasion, both federal income and state excise tax. I don't for a minute believe people would buy trac phones without a battery charger and pay 18 bucks more than they could get them from Wal-Mart with a charger.
These people are lying and I hope they are prosecuted for whatever crimes they can get them on.
Where were these guys planning to sell 1000 trak cellphones?
Palestine, Iraq pehaps Lebanon?
I hope you'e right. I'm sick of these cell-phone apologists.
I've never had a need for a gazillion cell phones. In fact, I hate the one I have. :)
DALLAS The three Dallas-area men arrested in Michigan on state terrorism charges are well-known to cell phone wholesale and retail shops here, where managers said Monday they are part of a brisk trade in buying phones from Wal-Mart and other discount stores and reselling them to smaller shops.
In Michigan, meanwhile, the FBI said it has no information to indicate that the three Palestinian-Americans arrested with about 1,000 cell phones in their van on Friday had any connections to terrorism.
Adham Othman, 21, his brother, Louai Othman, 23, and their cousin, Maruan Muhareb, 18, all from Mesquite, were stopped outside a Wal-Mart Store in Caro, about 80 miles north of Detroit in an agricultural region, after employees became suspicious over their purchase of 80 cell phones.
"For these guys, there is a lot of margin in these," said Sean Mobh, manager of Wireless Stop, a cell phone store on Harry Hines Boulevard in northwest Dallas. "There is a phone that they buy from Wal-Mart for 20 bucks and sell for $38."
Resale profitMobh said the group has come in "three or four" times in the last three months and he made one purchase of about 100 phones. They would usually sell prepaid TracFones, like the kind they were found with in Michigan, because Wal-Mart's discounts on them are so deep that they can make a nice resale profit.
"One trip and that's about $6,000 each minus gas and expenses," he said.
Mobh said the three men are among dozens of individuals in the competitive market of buying goods from Wal-Mart and other deep discounters and reselling them to other stores that mark them up and sell them retail or wholesale.
Mobh said he resells the phones in bulk in higher-priced markets such as New York or Los Angeles, or ships them abroad.
Wal-Marts in Dallas and other cities often are sold out of the most popular phones because of all the resellers about, so entrepreneurial types such as the Othman brothers and their cousin will travel long distances to find stores with inventory, several shopkeepers said.
"It looks like a case of these guys being in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Mobh.
'Weren't up to anything'Across the street, at Wireless Way, a shop owner who did not want to be quoted by name said, "These guys are known up and down this street, all over here. I would swear to God and my children that they weren't up to anything."
He said he bought at least three shipments of phones, totaling perhaps 400, from the three men in the last several months.
Prepaid phones require no contract and are programmed with prepaid minutes, making them popular with people with no phone service and with immigrants who want to call home.
Louai Othman told a magistrate judge after his arrest, "All we did is buy the phone to sell and make money."
Why were they opening them, taking out the batteries, and throwing the in seperate boxes? No way to treat merchandise!
Now in this case the local prosecutor has made an ass out of himself and now the Kennedy's are bailing him out. Watch this charge be quietly dropped too after the news cycle has moved on. Turns out that Mr. Capone is not even Italian any more than I am liberal stooge posing here on FR. Al, just like Joe, was born right here in the US. It really frosts me that my good buddy Al is facing 20 years because the prosecutor wanted to be a big hero and blew it. The Feds should be charging Joe's son, Ted, with murder.
Where did you go?