Feds file fraud charges against terror suspect
- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
New charges make no mention of alleged links to violent group
Additional federal charges have been filed against Ali Khaled Steitiye, the 39-year-old Lebanese immigrant suspected but not formally accused of terrorist ties.
The new charges do not allege any terrorist activity. Instead, they include two counts of federal credit-card fraud, two counts of making false statements when applying for Medicaid benefits, two counts of food-stamp fraud, two counts of misusing a fraudulently obtained credit-card number and one count each of unlawfully obtaining U.S. citizenship and possessing a counterfeit Resident Alien Card.
No trial date has been set on the new charges.
Steitiye, of Southwest Portland, was indicted on federal weapons charges on Oct. 24. Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker held a news conference Dec. 11 to release details of the arrest.
At the time, Kroeker suggested Steitiye had connections to terrorism. Kroeker said Steitiye had been investigated by the FBI's Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force, had received weapons training in a terrorist camp and had a plaque with the name of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas in his apartment.
'We've taken a violent individual off the streets,' Kroeker said.
But Steitiye's attorney, Dennis Balske, denied the terrorist accusations. Balske said Steitiye learned how to shoot in a refugee camp and the plaque actually includes a woman's name, Samah.
Balske described the weapons charges against his client as a routine gun possession case. Steitiye was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has felony convictions for theft in Oklahoma in 1984 and for forging a U.S. Treasury check in Oregon in 1986.
'This arrest wouldn't have received any attention if it had happened before Sept. 11,' Balske said.
The weapons case is scheduled for May 7 before U.S. District Judge Anna Brown.