Four people accused of involvement in a fraud and money-laundering scheme appeared in federal court to answer to charges. It's part of a larger scheme of alleged loan fraud that involves the brother of a man suspected of ties to the al-Qaida terrorist organization.

"Not guilty, your honor," Alaa "Alex" Ramadan told a federal magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Shackled and wearing an ill-fitting Davis County Jail jumpsuit, Ramadan pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering in three separate cases.

Also pleading not guilty to the charges were James Gibbons, Rebecca Teece and Teri Hansen. Federal prosecutors have accused them of mortgage fraud involving a home in Salt Lake City's Avenues neighborhood that netted the group about $125,712.

The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges they were all part of a larger criminal enterprise that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars.

FBI agents are investigating whether Sharif Omar — who has also been charged with bank fraud and money laundering — funneled money to banks in the country of Jordan, and if it found its way into terrorist hands. Omar is the brother of Shawqi Omar, who is being investigated for any possible ties to al-Qaida in Iraq.

Shawqi Omar is in military custody in Iraq on suspicion of terrorism but has not been charged with anything. FBI agents have told the Deseret Morning News they have no conclusive proof that the money went to support terrorism.


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