Bloomberg's Peter Eichenbaum reports for BusinessWeek. Here's a snippet:
March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Suspected assassins of a Hamas leader in Dubai “fraudulently” acquired prepaid payroll cards and stole identities to obtain jobs or compensation from U.S. companies, according to card-issuer MetaBank.
Authorities informed the lender, a unit of publicly traded Meta Financial Group Inc., that the suspects used fake passports to get cards issued by the firm and other banks, according to an e-mailed statement from Meta yesterday. The company, rooted in regions of Iowa and South Dakota tied to farming, said it followed proper procedures and that the people weren’t on federal lists designed to block potential terrorists.
“No other readily apparent method existed for Meta to determine that identity theft had been perpetrated on valid governments and their citizens,” MetaBank said.
Fourteen of the suspects in the January killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh used MasterCards issued by MetaBank to book hotel rooms and pay for air travel, Dubai police said last month. Police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim accused Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, of orchestrating the murder of al-Mabhouh, a founder of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Palestinian movement Hamas.
MetaBank’s home town of Storm Lake, Iowa, is about 200 miles southwest of Minneapolis and 150 miles northwest of Des Moines. The bank said the cards were issued through New York- based Payoneer, which markets them to U.S. companies and has a research and development facility in Tel Aviv.
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