“We don’t know if we have an identity-theft issue; we don’t know if we have a money-laundering issue, or a terrorist connection.” By Simone Weichselbaum in the Philadelphia Daily News, with thanks to Kemaste:
Something about the chubby middle-aged man didn’t sit right with eagle-eyed employees at the Commerce Bank in Drexel Hill on Wednesday.
The customer called himself Shahid Batti and pulled out a New Jersey driver’s license, a Social Security card and a Pakistani passport, all printed with his given name.
But bank employees thought the identifications looked fake – and it was the second time in just a few hours that the man wanted to withdraw thousands of dollars from the Batti account.
So the bank called the cops, and officers whisked the man off for questioning.
Last night, Upper Darby police were trying to come to grips with a strange case – one that quickly became twisted with post-9/11 suspicions.
As of yesterday, Upper Darby Superintendent Michael Chitwood said his investigators believe that the man with the Shahid Batti ID cards is Raza Hussain, 44, from Brooklyn.
While local and FBI officials sort out the man’s real identity and his motives for living as Shahid Batti, the Commerce Bank customer is sitting in a Delaware County jail cell and has not posted the $100,000 bail, Chitwood said.
Hussain – if that indeed is his real name – is charged with theft, forgery, identity theft and related crimes. Police aren’t even sure if Hussain and Batti are different people or the same man.
“There are a lot of red flags here,” Chitwood said. “We don’t know if we have an identity-theft issue; we don’t know if we have a money-laundering issue, or a terrorist connection.”…
His home looks like a mosque, with Islamic characters lining the walls, she said.
On Wednesday at about 2:40 p.m. the case broke.
A Commerce Bank employee called police to report a “Pakistani male attempting to withdraw $9,700… from an account under the same of Shahid Batti,” court records said.
Earlier that day, “the defendant withdrew $8,700” from the Batti account, records stated.
The man’s request of $9,700 was denied because “of the differing photographs on the defendant’s photographic IDs,” records said.
Also, the Pakistani passport’s insert covers “had been glued down with a different cover. The binding and stiching had been disassembled and appeared to have a new insert glued on,” according to case records.
The Social Security card “was observed to have the seal of the ‘Dept. Health and Human Services,’ and not the legitimate seal of the Social Security Administration,” records said. And the N.J. license did not appear to have the “normal hologram.”…
But FBI spokeswoman Jerri Williams said Hussain “is not on the FBI terrorist-watch list, and has no known ties to terrorists. The Philadelphia FBI will continute their investigation to determine his true identity.”