$94 Million South Florida Internet Scam likely linked to Terrorists
Federal authorities are searching for the person behind a $94 million South Florida internet scam they say bankrolled Hezbollah, the radical Muslim group.
Shell companies, set up by “money mules” and paid for by Roda Taher, 38, were linked back to South Florida bank accounts. The accounts were used to launder money from lottery winnings, inheritance, and other email-hacking scams, according to the Miami Herald.
Millions of dollars were transferred to companies worldwide. The funds were traced to areas in China and the United Arab Emirates.
The suspect, Taher, is believed to have fled to Beirut with his wife, Haanan Jaafar. The 26-year-old wife is accused of aiding in the money laundering and bank fraud schemes from overseas, as disclosed by federal prosecutors and told to the Miami Herald.
Taher has been in trouble for scamming prior to becoming a current fugitive. He was convicted several years ago of setting up bogus companies to deposit stolen checks at South Florida banks.
Taher pleaded guilty in the first bank fraud case in February 2010. Records show he was also arrested on drunk driving charges in Fort Lauderdale,.
The latest charges against Taher involve at least 15 defendants and do not mention Hezbollah, but sources referenced in the Herald said that Taher set up his network to back the terrorist organization that has been linked to bombings inculding killings of Israelis and other Western targets in the Middle East.
An expert in the field of terrorism against the United States revealed that Taher having ties to Hezbollah is very plausible in the case of funding for the terrorist organization.