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Published: Tuesday, 6/13/2006

Couple get prison for cheating on credit cards

A Toledo-area couple who ran up a large credit-card debt, then filed for bankruptcy were sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court on bankruptcy fraud and bank fraud charges.

Rafic Jaber was sentenced by Judge James Carr to 14 months in prison. His wife, Hanane Jaber, was given a one-year sentence.

According to court records, the couple obtained nearly 35 credit-card accounts with financial institutions by falsifying their income on applications, and used the credit cards to charge about $100,000 in expenses.

In filing for bankruptcy in February, 2003, they listed $171,950 in debt while claiming only $3,540 in assets, records said. To carry out the scheme, which is commonly referred to as a "bustout," the couple submitted applications for the credit cards from 1997 through 1999.

An indictment was filed against the couple in July. They entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors Dec. 15. Each pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud and two counts of bank fraud.

The couple also were ordered to make restitution to the financial companies that provided them with the cards.

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