Texas Man Who Faced Murder Charge Pleads Guilty to Fraud

A Texas man pleaded guilty to disability fraud, months after prosecutors dropped a murder charge against him in the death of a woman who was a student and classmate of one of his daughters.

Ali Irsan, 58, of Conroe, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. for allegedly taking Social Security payments that he shouldn't have received. His wife, Shmou Ali Alrawabdeh, and 31-year-old daughter, Nadia Irsan, earlier pleaded guilty to making false statements in the scheme. All three will remain in custody pending sentencing in June. Each could get up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Federal prosecutors said the fraud involved Supplemental Security Income, a needs-based benefit provided by Social Security. It pays monthly benefits to the disabled who have no resources.

Authorities say Ali Irsan applied for the benefits in September 2002 saying he was disabled and hadn't been able to work since 1990. Investigators found that he had a bank account in Jordan with a balance that fluctuated from about $4,000 to $16,000 and that in January 2010, he received a settlement check for $75,000 that he didn't report to the Social Security Administration. They say Shmou and Nadia Irsan falsified documents to aid the fraud scheme.

Irsan was charged last year in the 2012 death of Gelareh Bagherzadeh, who was shot while driving in Houston. At the time, prosecutors said Irsan disapproved of the marriage between another of his daughters, Nesreen, and a man named Coty Beavers. They alleged that Irsan blamed Bagherzadeh, who was in the same graduate program as Nesreen, for helping persuade Nesreen to leave her parents' home.

Bagherzadeh was shot to death in her car while pulling up to her parent's Houston townhome. Witnesses reported seeing a silver car fleeing the scene. About 45 minutes later, Ali Irsan, driving a silver car, was pulled over for speeding as he and his wife were headed from Houston to Conroe, a northern suburb.

Beavers was shot to death about 10 months later at his and Nesreen Irsan's home. Friends and relatives suspected Ali Irsan, but no one has been charged in Beavers' killing. Investigators are still investigating the killings, including whether they could be related.

Ali Irsan shot and killed a son-in-law in 1999, but he said it was in self-defense and wasn't charged in that case.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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