Ali Nasrallah was sentenced to six years in prison in 1999 for credit card fraud; he had devised the biggest credit card scam in U.S. history that netted an estimated $150 million in stolen goods. Working with a partner named Robert Diaz, Nasrallah contrived a scheme in 1994 to provide credit cards with fake IDs to crews that would travel across the U.S. to purchase high-end goods, especially laptop computers. In 1996, the two managed to get hold of between 10,000 and 30,000 blank credit cards on which they imprinted valid overseas account numbers. The crews who utilized the cards were recruited from the Latino community in New York and the Arab-American community in Dearborn, Michigan, which has a heavy Muslim population and has been the focus of FBI investigations.
Diaz was arrested after investigations by the U.S. Secret Service, and one of the scam crew members also provided information that led to Nasrallah, who is a U.S. citizen from Lebanon. This evidence led to a raid on Nasrallah’s home in Dearborn, where evidence of internet credit card fraud was also uncovered. The FBI says the credit card scheme was created to raise funds for Hezbollah. Despite claiming that he has no connection to Hezbollah, Nasrallah has been cooperating with federal agents by naming other Hezbollah operatives in the U.S. in exchange for a lighter sentence. According to Tom Matuszak, a local prosecutor who convicted Nasrallah, “This is no longer a credit card case, it’s a terrorism case.”