TAMPA, Fla.- The FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and IRS -- they were all part of the massive raid on a Riverview home early Tuesday. U.S. prosecutors allege the Bay Area business man who lives in the home, Osama "Sam" Mustafa, was one of at least three men who conspired to defraud millions of dollars from the U.S. government.
"It's appalling," said neighbor Ginger Kaas. "It's our money. It's very, very painful."
Investigators say between July of 2009 and May of this year, Mustafa and two others purchased fraudulent income tax return checks and cashed them at banks both in Florida and Virginia. They allege the three made more than $17.5 million on the scheme.
"There's a lot of Americans out there that would love to have jobs and all that money could be spent on much better things than someone stealing it from the government," said Robert Maddock, who lives near one of Mustafa's several Bay area businesses, including a tow truck company, used car lot, and auto repair shops.
"I've been doing business with them for a couple of years now. This is a complete shock," said Paul Palacious, who planned to drop off his car to have work done. He changed his mind after seeing federal agents impounding vehicles. "In Lutz, Florida, the backwoods of Tampa, you never would imagine... it blows my mind."
U.S. marshals also hauled off Mustafa's personal cars, including SUV's, several Mercedes, and even a new Porsche.
"I was frightened and concerned, but in another way I was comforted the FBI is looking after us," said Kaas.
What wasn't mentioned in the federal indictment: previous allegations surrounding Mustafa's possible links to the attacks on September 11th. The San Diego Union Tribune reported Mustafa owned the California gas station that employed one of the 9/11 hijackers. Despite the suspected connection, he was never charged.
He was charged today, however, with federal tax fraud and money laundering. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail late Tuesday and is being held on $50,000 bond.