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Brothers Plead Guilty to Defrauding Banks and Merchants of over $5 Million in Counterfeit Check/Credit Card Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2011

Las Vegas, Nev. – Two California men have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for defrauding federally-insured banks and merchants in Nevada of over $5 million, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Adam Amadeo Battani, aka Ayman Ahmed El-Assadi, 35, and his brother, Sam Amadeo Battani, aka Wissam Ahmed El-Assadi, 34, of Long Beach, California, each pleaded guilty on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, credit/debit card fraud, and money laundering. The Battanis were indicted in May 2010, and face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They are scheduled to be sentenced on June 10, 2011, by U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt.

According to the plea agreements, from about January 2002 to March 2010, Adam Battani and Sam Battani devised a scheme to steal money and goods from merchants and financial institutions using unauthorized credit cards, along with false identification documents and counterfeit checks which they unlawfully produced. The defendants relocated the fraudulent scheme from California to other areas, including Las Vegas, to evade law enforcement. The defendants opened bank accounts and credit card accounts, as well as post office boxes in the Las Vegas area, using multiple fictitious identities. The defendants funded the bank accounts with counterfeit checks drawn on fictitious business entities and banks, and used the fraudulent accounts and unauthorized credit cards to unlawfully obtain cash, goods and services. The defendants laundered the proceeds of the criminal enterprise through other bank and credit card accounts, which were also established using fictitious identities. Ultimately, the defendants caused the monies and funds to be transferred to accounts they controlled and used the monies for their own personal benefit. The plea agreement states that the defendants derived over $1 million from the financial institutions and over $5.3 million in total using this scheme.

The plea agreements require the defendants to forfeit to the government up to $438,718 in U.S. currency, as well as multiple computers, printers, memory cards, cameras, cell phones, 50 counterfeit drivers licenses, 24 social security cards, 44 unauthorized credit cards, and $10,000 seized from nine bank accounts held in different names.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and FBI, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.

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