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Hezbollah suspect charged in forgery

Ali Elrida, who is charged with forgery in Manhattan and who may have ties to Hezbollah, was once convicted of selling counterfeit sneakers, which police found in a Sunnyside Storage Deluxe. Photo by Rebecca Henely
TimesLedger Newspapers

An Astoria man who had been convicted of selling counterfeit sneakers and who may have ties to Hezbollah is now in custody on forgery charges, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said.

Ali Elrida, 29, was arrested after a 6th Precinct officer allegedly found a forged vehicle registration document May 16 at 9 a.m. in Elrida’s vehicle, which was parked at the intersection of Christopher and Hudson Street in the West Village, the DA said. The officer knew the document was forged because the registration’s issue and expiration dates were allegedly written over with a black marker, the DA said.

A further investigation of the vehicle allegedly revealed a fake Jersey City Police Department parking permit, the DA said. Unlike genuine parking permits, this permit did not have any serial number or officer’s name, the DA said.

Elrida told authorities the permits were his and that no one else had access to the vehicle, and he was arrested that day, the DA said. He was arraigned May 17 in Manhattan Criminal Court on two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, the DA said.

Since the arrest he has been held in prison on $100,000 cash and $300,000 bond, a spokeswoman for the DA said. During the bail application process, it came up that the FBI has been investigating whether Elrida has been laundering money for Hezbollah, a militant Lebanese Shia Muslim group classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and other countries, the spokeswoman said.

Elrida was required to surrender his passport at his last court date, the spokeswoman said.

The Astoria resident had previously pleaded guilty Jan. 29, 2008, in Queens Criminal Court to trademark counterfeiting, a Queens district attorney’s office spokeswoman said.

Through using a search warrant, an officer had discovered thousands of fake Nike Sneakers in a unit Elrida had rented at the Storage Deluxe, at 38-01 47th Ave. in Sunnyside, Dec. 15, 2006, according to a criminal complaint. Rental receipts for the property had been found in his vehicle, the complaint said.

He received a conditional discharge, the Queens DA said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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