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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2008

Restaurant owner accused of writing 44,000 bad checks


CLEVELAND - Federal prosecutors in Cleveland say a restaurant operator fraudulently floated 44,000 bad checks totaling $824 million and cost his bank $4.1 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Sammon said 49-year-old Fred Boukzam of Brooklyn, Ohio, floated the bad checks over 21 months.

Mr. Boukzam and his company were charged with bank fraud. The company operates 15 Ponderosa restaurants in the area.

Mr. Boukzam's attorney, John McCaffrey, said he had not seen the indictment and said that his client would respond to the allegations in court.

Prosecutors said Mr. Boukzam manipulated and inflated account balances by taking advantage of the time between when a check is deposited and when it clears.

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