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Court Reverses Conviction Of Arab Fest Founder

CHICAGO (CN) - The Seventh Circuit has overturned the fraud conviction of Mhammad Abu-Shawish, the former executive director of Arabian Fest, saying his charge didn't fit the crime.

Abu-Shawish was convicted of stealing $75,000 in grant money from Milwaukee by plagiarizing another developer's proposal to redevelop a neighborhood near Arabian Fest's headquarters and using the money to pay the nonprofit's operating expenses, including his own salary.

The unanimous three-judge panel vacated and remanded his conviction, saying prosecutors could have charged him with mail or wire fraud instead of federal fraud violations.

"At bottom, Abu-Shawish defrauded the City of Milwaukee, but the government is still required to charge him with the appropriate crime," Judge Flaum wrote. See ruling in U.S. v. Abu-Shawish.

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