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Moustafa K. Soliman and his son, Mohamed Soliman, both of 30-48 4nd St. in Astoria, were arrested Sunday and arraigned on nine counts of petit larceny after they allegedly received an estimated $5,445 worth of building materials, including paint, wallboards and doors, for free from two Home Depot stores in Babylon, L.I. in a scheme during the last few months, said Lt. Robert Edwards, of the First Precinct. The Solimans were arraigned Monday before Judge Gaetan Lozito at Central Islip's First District Court, a spokeswoman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said. The men were both charged with nine counts of petit larceny and could face up to one year in jail, if convicted, the spokeswoman said.Bail for the defendants was set at $4,500 cash and a return date to court was scheduled for Jan. 22, the spokeswoman said.Police said they were still investigating whether other Long Island Home Depot stores were defrauded in the scam."It might be one of those instances where the victims are not aware they are victims," Edwards said.The Solimans have allegedly identified themselves as contractors, police said. The son told police that he owns a company called King Soliman Construction Corporation, while the father said he ran his own company known as Moos General Contracting, police said. But police said they could not find licensing information for either company. Edwards said police had no information as to where the two companies were located or performed construction.The Solimans were believed to have loaded two shopping carts filled with identical merchandise inside each Home Depot store and then paid for one shopping cart full of items, police said. The men would then allegedly take one cart out of the store to fill up their van, re-enter the store with a sales receipt and remove the second cart from the store from a different exit, police said.Then the Solimans allegedly returned one cart full of items to the store for a refund, using the receipt, police said. Edwards said the men are charged with not only getting one free cart full of materials, but obtaining reimbursement for the second cart full of materials, for which they had not paid.In each instance, the duo would net between $450 and $600, police said.Edwards said police were notified of the scheme in October by one of the Home Depots after the suspects were identified through store security videos. Police said the investigation into the scheme was ongoing.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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