Mad at Maad Town Deceived?

ANCHORAGE, AK—Fraud is a particularly egregious offense when a charitable cause or tragedy is leveraged for such an act.

Sadly, it may be the case in the circumstances surrounding Nezar “Mike” Maad.

Maad, 42, owner of Frontier Printing Services here, first drew national attention only 10 days after the September 11 terrorist attacks when the Syrian-born owner’s plant was found to be vandalized, with printing presses and various equipment destroyed, and the words “We hate Arabs” spray painted on the shop’s wall.

What started out as a hate-crime investigation, and $93,000 in sympathetic donations to Maad through the “Not in Our Town” fund, has turned its focus to the owner himself. The Anchorage Daily News reported that Maad faces felony charges of falsifying financial documents and lying to the government.

The FBI charges against Maad—also the vice president of Bridge Builders, a diversity-building group—carry a maximum penalty of 70 years in prison and $2.5 million in fines. The vandalism is no longer being investigated as a hate crime.

The paper quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Cooper as saying that Maad and his wife, Joanne, are principal suspects in the damage to the property at Frontier Printing Services, although the bank charges are unrelated to the damage, which is being investigated as insurance fraud by wire.

Evidence that Maad had falsified loan documents and lied to the government to obtain small business loans for the company was discovered during the FBI’s investigation of the printing shop damage, according to the Daily News.

The paper reported that local police found no signs of forced entry or damage to the property other than the printing-related equipment.

Maad was arrested December 11 and jailed until his release eight days later. He remains under house arrest with the aid of an electronic ankle monitor, and was ordered not to associate with former employees of his print shop, which is now closed. He must submit to regular drug testing and was ordered to surrender his passport, the paper reported.

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