Jury deliberates fate of Anchorage businessman charged with fraud

Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage jury continued deliberations Tuesday in the federal bank fraud trial of Nezar ''Mike'' Maad.

Maad, an Anchorage businessman who owned the now-closed Frontier Printing Services, faces five felony charges in federal court for bank fraud, wire fraud and lying to the government.

After his shop was damaged in mid-September, area businesses and residents donated money to a fund to help him rebuild. Maad was arrested and charged during an investigation into the damage to the shop.

The jury began deliberations Monday at the U.S. District Courthouse. During closing arguments Monday, the prosecution painted Maad as a man who lied about his finances to get loans.

''Mr. Maad didn't tell the truth,'' assistant U.S. attorney Dan Cooper said. ''There must be a consequence.''

Federal public defender Rich Curtner argued that Maad may have made a few errors but that there was no intent to defraud.

''Did Mike Maad intend to cheat the bank?'' Curtner said. ''The answer is clear. It's no.''

Cooper alleged Maad lied about finances on loan applications to Northrim Bank and on a financial statement faxed to IOS Capital, a Georgia-based leasing company. He also said the businessman hid a prior bankruptcy and two shoplifting convictions from the U.S. Small Business Administration when applying for a government-backed loan.

''The only reason to lie to your banker is to get something you're not entitled to,'' Cooper said.

Curtner said Maad did not understand accounting, which led to errors. It was careless and negligent not to be honest about his financial history, he added, but it was not intentional.

''It's your responsibility to look at this case for what it is: a citizen under the microscope'' of the government, Curtner said.

Maad did not take the stand as had been expected Monday morning. The defense would say only that it was Maad's decision not to testify.

In other testimony, prosecution witnesses said Maad was dishonest in business relationships.

Maad has ''little to no integrity,'' said Mike Insalaco, who worked at Lewis and Lewis Computer Store as a technician and service manager. Insalaco said he did store business with Maad in the mid-1990s.

In the printing community, ''people, generally speaking, don't trust him,'' Insalaco said.

The two counts of bank fraud each carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The remaining charges of wire fraud and lying to the government each have a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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