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State Swindled

July 30th, 2008 by flanews

Five million, eight hundred thousand dollars were stolen from the state treasury and the man suspected of taking the money was nabbed just minutes before his flight was supposed to leave the country. As Whitney Ray tells us, FBI agents are trying to figure out if the man acted alone or if a state employee helped him steal the money.

Hear it Here: State Swindled

FBI agents say 35 year-old Ali Hammoud tried to pull off a caper worthy of the big screen. Last Thursday Hammoud was minutes away from boarding an overseas flight in Miami, agents say with millions of stolen dollars sitting in a Beirut Bank account.

Hammoud is accused of taking 5.8 million dollars of state money that was to be paid to Anderson Columbia, a road construction company. The money was supposed to be transferred into the construction companys account at Wachovia bank, but ended up in a Regions Bank opened by Hammoud.

The state wired four huge deposits into the account. The suspect reportedly forged state documents using a name he pulled off the construction companys website. The state was tipped off to the switch when an accountant called about the missing pay checks.

I talked to a representative from the company. He was shocked, no one from the state called his office before sending their money to another bank. A Spokeswoman for Floridas Chief Financial Officer said theyll look at their policies after the FBI finishes its investigation.

That is something that will come after the department is done working with federal authorities. Right now our focus is on making sure we can unwind all those transactions, said Tara Klimek.

Federal agents are also looking at whether or not any state employees helped Hammoud steal the money. The state is still working to recover all of the missing money. Hammoud is being held in a jail in South Florida.

Posted in Criminal Justice, State Budget, State News | 1 Comment »

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