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Moroccan-Belgian who helped defraud US charities sentenced to five years in prison

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A Belgian-Moroccan who was accused of defrauding charities and law offices in the United State of millions of dollars has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to repay $1.6 million to his victims, The Brussels Times reported on Sunday.

Aref Zokita Said was involved in a scam which consisted of sending a cheque to charities as a donation and then «calling to tell them the sum involved was a mistake and ask them to repay a portion», the same source recalls. The cheque, however, was worthless.

The 37-year-old Moroccan-Belgian managed to defraud several charities, NGOs and law offices. Prosecutors in Massachusetts asked for a 20-year-sentence for Said. However, the latter ended up getting a five-year sentence.

Said was arrested in Morocco on an international arrest warrant after he fled the US. He was extradited to the US eight months later. According to the same source, he has been awaiting trial since 2018 and will be spending only three years in prison after he served the two other years in Morocco and the US.

Said was also ordered to repay $1.6 million for the organizations he defrauded, including charities and lawyers working for the disabled, victims of sexual violence, poor children and the environment, the same source concluded.

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