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Toledo couple plead guilty in terrorism-related case

Hor-and-Amera-Akl

Hor Akl, left, and his wife Amera Akl, right.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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A Toledo couple will be sentenced to prison after pleading guilty in federal court Monday to charges that they conspired to smuggle money to a terrorist group in Lebanon.

Hor Akl pleaded guilty to five counts pertaining to conspiracy and interstate commerce in support of terrorism. He could be sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

His wife, Amera Akl, pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. She faces nearly four years in prison when sentenced.

As part of the plea agreement, an arson charge that would have carried a 10-year prison sentence was dropped against Hor Akl and two charges, including an arson-related charge, were dropped against his wife.

The couple was charged in June, 2010, in a 36-page indictment filed in U.S. District Court. It alleged they “did knowingly combine, conspire, and agree” to aid the terrorist group Hezbollah. They are alleged to have sent money and supplies to a foreign terrorist organization beginning on Aug. 30, 2009.

Counts one and two, pertaining to conspiracy and interstate commerce in support of terrorism, named both the husband and his wife, as did count six, which alleged the two of them collected $17,296 from a fraudulent insurance claim in early 2002. Prosecutors say they intentionally set a 1998 Jeep Cherokee on fire in late 2001 to destroy information, and that they committed wire and mail fraud in so doing.

On counts three, four, and five, Mr. Akl was charged with defrauding creditors, making false statements under oath, and fraudulently transferring or concealing property as it related to a bankruptcy filed in August, 2008.

U.S. District Court Judge James Carr, who presided over Monday’s plea, noted that he was bound to sentence the couple within agreed upon guidelines. He set Amera Akl’s sentencing for June 20 where she faces between 37 and 46 months.

Hor Akl faces between 70 and 87 months. No sentencing date was set.

The judge allowed the couple to continue living in separate houses on bond but extended the time they can spend together with their three children to between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Both remain on electronic monitoring and an adult custodian must be present at all times.

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