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Man Pleads Guilty to Document Fraud

December 1, 2001

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A Tunisian man caught up in a sweep of illegal immigrants after the Sept. 11 attacks pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges of using false documents and a fake Social Security number to get a job.

A lawyer representing Sami Med Fathi Ben Hafaiedh, 28, said outside court that his client has no information regarding the attacks and is ``bewildered″ by his prosecution.

``He just wants to go home,″ deputy public defender Mary Kelly said. ``He’s bewildered that he’s all mixed up in this.″

Hafaiedh’s name was on a list released by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft citing those charged with federal crimes as a result of the attacks investigation.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of document fraud. Speaking through an Arabic translator, he said he knew he was violating U.S. laws when he used a counterfeit immigrant registration card and Social Security number on his application for a job at a market in suburban Glendale.

Hafaiedh was scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11.

Hafaiedh was first detained on an immigration violation charge on Sept. 25 and posted $5,000 bail. He was taken into custody again by federal authorities on Oct. 31, according to his lawyer.

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