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DFS Helps Fbi Nab Suspect in Wire Fraud Case

7/28/2008

CONTACT: Tara Klimek
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASEE – A 35-year-old man is in custody after being arrested on charges of wire fraud.  Moments before he boarded an international flight,  Ali Hammoud was arrested by federal agents at the Miami International Airport.

The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Accounting and Auditing (DFS) contacted the FBI immediately after determining that $5.7 million in funds payable to a state road contractor had been fraudulently re-directed to an account in Hammoud’s name. 

Monday afternoon, the Department of Financial Services was successful in obtaining an injunction against Regions Bank, Wachovia Bank, and Bank of America to freeze any funds that had been transferred in connection with the fraud.  A full recovery of all funds is expected.

“We’re grateful the FBI responded swiftly and arrested this individual,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who oversees DFS.  “We are working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Attorney and others to assure that this case is successfully prosecuted.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Thomas F. Kirwin stated that, “Hammoud’s arrest at the Miami International Airport arose from a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida charging Hammoud with wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.  The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment.  A criminal complaint is only a charging document.  Hammoud is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.