|Hussein "Sam" Nazzal, Edward Schneider, Majed Taube, Mounif Zeaiter and Amneh Taube|
The charges were announced by federal prosecutors late last week after a multi-year probe by several federal agencies including the FBI, Secret Service and Homeland Security according to The Detroit News.
The accused include five Dearborn residents and a former bank VP accused of taking $20,000 in bribes.
"When criminals use false documents and bribery to obtain loans, banks and borrowers suffer," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a prepared statement.
Among those charged are Hussein "Sam" Nazzal, 57 of Dearborn; Edward Schneider, 58 of Dearborn; Majed Tawbe, 42 of Dearborn; Amneh Taube, 43 of Dearborn; Mike Murry, 58 of Dearborn; Eric Morton, 39 of Wixom; Ross Carey, 48 of Farmington; and Mounif Zeaiter, 46 of Detroit.
According to prosecutors Nazzal and others used false tax records, reports and inflated financial documents in order to secure massive commercial loans from Fifth Third Bank. The incidents occurred from 2003 to 2008, the officials allege.
Two of the defendants, Nazzal and Schneider, have been accused of paying bribes to Morton, a former vice president at the bank, during that five year period. Schneider is a lawyer who has been suspended from practicing.
According to the prosecution, the fraud scheme involved obtaining loans from straw buyers.
The Kabob Village Restaurant owner Nazzal also helped to arrange marriages between Americans and Lebanese citizens in order to obtain fraudulent immigration benefits, prosecutors said.
One of those involved in a marriage scheme according to The Detroit News may be Mohamad Arzouni, a former top employee with La Shish restaurants, who contacted former owner Talal Chahine for help gaining permanent status. He was later convicted of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. in 2009.
Chahine is currently in Lebanon after being accused of using a computer program to underreport revenues allowing him to get away with about $20 million from the restaurants. The current La Shish restaurants are under new ownership after being revived recently.