With Hi-Tech Software, Arab American with Ties to Hizbullah Skimmed $20 Million

[New York Times] Roy Furchgott - Thanks to a software program called a zapper, even technologically illiterate restaurant and store owners can siphon cash from computer cash registers and cheat tax officials. A 12-store restaurant chain in Detroit used a zapper to skim more than $20 million over four years, federal prosecutors say. IRS investigators in 2006 said that Talal Chahine, owner of 12 Lebanese restaurants called La Shish, had used a zapper to hide more than $20 million in cash, according to federal court documents filed by a U.S. attorney in Detroit. The cash has not been recovered, and at least part of the money was sent to Lebanon as cashiers' checks, the prosecutors say. Chahine was indicted on income tax evasion charges, but the Department of Justice believes he is a fugitive in Lebanon, where he has connections to Hizbullah.

2008-09-08 01:00:00

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