EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After a 16-year international manhunt, the FBI nabbed a Middle Eastern organized crime figure who conned New Jersey mom-and-pop stores out of computer equipment as part of an East Rutherford-based criminal enterprise that gathered $2.8 million in illegal profits, authorities said Friday.
Some of the small business owners were wiped out by the group of thieves that included Steven Nacim, 50, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Newark who fled to his native Morocco in 2002 to avoid prosecution for his crimes, federal authorities said.
A federal judge in Newark on Friday put Nacim under house arrest with GPS location monitoring.
He faces charges that include wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Nacim was part of "a large Middle Eastern Criminal Enterprise" that "engaged in numerous financial fraud schemes," cashing bogus checks and then wiring the proceeds into different accounts, Carpenito said.
Ring members also bought computers and computer-related merchandise using checks from a sham business based out of East Rutherford that they called Computer 3000, then shipped the goods to Morocco, an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Newark in July 2002 charges.
An international warrant was issued for Nacim soon after the indictment was returned.
Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Shirley U. Emehelu, chief of Carpenito's Asset Recovery Money Laundering Unit in Newark.
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