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West Toledo couple indicted in terrorism case

A federal grand jury yesterday indicted Hor Akl and his wife, Amera Akl, both 37, on charges that the West Toledo couple “did knowingly combine, conspire, and agree” to aid the terrorist group Hezbollah, according to a 36-page filing in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

The Akls, who are expected to appear in court today, were named together on three of six charges. Mr. Akl was named individually on three.

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 is charged with defrauding creditors, making false statements under oath, and fraudulently transferring or concealing property. The indictment also claims there were at least two co-conspirators, including an unnamed brother of Mr. Akl and an unnamed brother of his wife.

Mr. and Mrs. Akl are dual citizens of the United States and Lebanon. Mr. Akl faces up to 55 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines; his wife could get as many as 45 years in prison and up to $752,000 in fines.

The U.S. secretary of state has identified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization since October, 1997, according to the indictment.

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