Maawad pleads guilty to fraud - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Maawad pleads guilty to fraud

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - An Egyptian immigrant who raised
government fears about possible terrorist plans but was not charged
with terrorism pleaded guilty Monday to fraud.

Mahmoud Maawad, 29, was ordered held without bond until
sentencing July 14 and will be subject to deportation after any
prison term. Authorities say he has been in the United States
illegally since 1999, when his visitor's visa expired.

The guilty plea was accepted by Judge Bernice Donald of U.S.
District Court. Maawad is represented by the federal public
defender's office, which has refused to comment on his case.

Maawad has been in federal custody since he was arrested in
September on charges of using a depleted bank account to make
purchases over the Internet. He also was charged with using a fake
Social Security number to enroll at the University of Memphis,
where he was a student when arrested.

He drew the attention of federal authorities when a search of
his apartment turned up DVDs on pilot training and charts on the
layout of the Memphis airport. One of the DVDs was titled "How an
Airline Captain Should Look and Act."

Authorities refuse to talk about their investigation of Maawad
but court records showed that investigators believed he may have
been planning a terrorist act. No evidence of direct links to
terrorism was presented in court.

Maawad pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining merchandise
through Internet orders to Sporty's U.S.A., an Ohio based company
that sells aviation related training materials and equipment.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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