Magistrate refuses to provide Maad with a public defender

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A federal magistrate refused Thursday to appoint a public defender for a businessman arrested on bank fraud charges.

Syrian-born Nezar Khaled ''Mike'' Maad, owner of Frontier Printing Services in Anchorage, told the court he can't afford his own lawyer.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge A. Harry Branson denied the request after Maad refused to testify about his finances. Maad is charged with four felonies for allegedly lying in order to get business loans, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Cooper told Branson that the Maad made more than $110,000 last year, far more than others who have been denied public defenders because they could afford to hire their own lawyers.

Prosecutors say the bank fraud charges resulted from an investigation into a suspected hate crime after someone spray-painted ''We hate Arabs'' and broke computers and printers at Maad's business about 10 days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The attack on Maad's business prompted an outpouring of sympathy from the community. Donations to the ''Not in our Town'' fund to help Maad cover his losses totaled about $70,000. Maad got one disbursement of $15,000. The remaining money in the fund has been frozen.

The FBI did not find sufficient evidence that a hate crime had occurred. The investigation into the property damage at the business is ongoing.

Maad is being held at the Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility. A bail hearing was scheduled for Friday.

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