Accused businessman suspected in damage to print shop

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Nezar ''Mike'' Maad and his wife are principal suspects in the damaging of their own print shop for insurance money, a federal prosecutor said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Cooper, made his comments Wednesday when he argued against Maad's release from jail.

Cooper presented a long list of arguments against Maad's release, but offered nothing specific tying him directly to the damage. Outside the courtroom, Cooper said he couldn't discuss the investigation further.

After arguments from both sides, Magistrate Judge Harry Branson agreed to Maad's release but set stringent conditions including requiring Maad to be monitored electronically and appointing his wife, Joanne, and friend Malcolm Roberts to keep watch over him as official custodians.

Maad, 42, has been held without bail since his Dec. 11 arrest on bank fraud charges, but those charges do not relate to the damage, which authorities at first called a hate crime.

Cooper said the damage is being investigated as an ''insurance fraud by wire'' case. Maad and Joanne remain ''principal suspects in damage to the property at Frontier Printing Services,'' the prosecutor said.

A federal grand jury has been hearing evidence regarding the print shop damage since October. While investigating that case, the FBI found evidence that led to charges that Maad falsified loan documents and lied to the government in order to secure business loans for Frontier.

Sometime on the weekend of Sept. 21 -- 10 days after the East Coast attacks connected to suspected Arab terrorists -- someone spray-painted ''We hate Arabs'' on a wall at Frontier Printing and wrecked the shop's equipment. Maad is an Arab-American.

The damage generated a flood of sympathy and more than $93,000 in donations, most of it to the Not in Our Town fund. The Maads have received $34,000 of that.

But at the shop, police found no signs of forced entry. Family photographs weren't marred, nor was the carpet or furniture. Only presses, copiers, computers and other expensive equipment was damaged.

Last week, Joanne Maad, closed the print shop.

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