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CLEVELAND - The FBI this week filed an affidavit in federal court alleging that brothers Michel and Elie Abboud, owners of a small group of Cleveland-area c-stores, financed a check-cashing service in their stores by shifting money around in 13 different local bank accounts.
The scheme has led to more than $1.2 million in written-off losses at National City Bank and Park View Federal Savings related to overdrafts in the Abbouds' accounts.
James Willis, the Abbouds' defense attorney, said his clients were innocent, and that the problem has been caused by accounting mistakes at the two banks.
The FBI has confiscated computers, files and cash from the Abbouds' stores, which Willis says has effectively put them out of business without a fair trial.