Judge rebukes fraudster who took advantage of her concern for his family.
Zack Dyab, 48, pleaded guilty to money laundering and mortgage fraud conspiracy charges in September 2010. The government contends he and his co-conspirators bilked lenders out of $7.8 million.
At Dyab's sentencing in 2011, Assistant U.S. Attorney David MacLaughlin asked that he be taken immediately into custody. But Dyab, a naturalized U.S. citizen who immigrated from Syria at age 16, asked for some time to help his Syrian wife and their two children, now 16 and 11, who were completely dependent on him.
U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen granted his request, and he absconded on the day he was supposed to report to the federal prison camp in Duluth.
Dyab declined to make a statement Tuesday. His attorney, Reynoldo Aligada Jr., said in court filings that Dyab had heart problems, became overcome with depression, and couldn't bring himself to tell his children that he'd be going to prison. He made a terrible decision and hid out for five weeks with a friend and turned to alcohol and drug abuse, Aligada said. He asked the judge for leniency.
MacLaughlin argued for an additional year in prison.
"Mr. Dyab had sufficient intellect, verbal acuity, tenacity and energy to run a multi-tentacled mortgage fraud scheme that reached from Minnesota to Florida for almost five years. He surely had the wherewithal to deal with the issues he now asserts as excuses using resources that were available to him," MacLaughlin wrote in court filings.
"I can't find anything that makes me think you need to have a break," she told Dyab. "Your family is the true victim of this offense," she said. "It's a cruel fact that this falls most heavily on them."
Dan Browning • 612-673-4493