Man arrested Sept. 12 with box cutters pleads guilty to fraud

Friday June 07, 2002

NEW YORK – One of two men arrested with box cutters a day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks pleaded guilty Thursday to credit card fraud charges. 

Mohammed Azmath, 37, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 17 and could face eight to 14 months in prison. 

Lawyer Anthony Ricco said his client might qualify for sentencing as soon as July under a special program set up to quickly process Sept. 11 detainees who admit crimes unrelated to terrorism. 

Prosecutors said Azmath sold personal information to someone who obtained credit cards in his name, purchasing $58,747 in services and merchandise. Ricco said his client received only several hundred dollars for his part in the conspiracy. 

Ricco said he suspected Azmath will be deported to India rather than serve the sentence because he entered the country illegally in 1999. 

“He would like to stay, but he’s very happy to go home,” Ricco said of his client, who has a wife in Hyderabad, India. 

Azmath and Syed Gul Mohammed Shah, 36, boarded a plane in Newark, N.J., on Sept. 11 to go to San Antonio. They were stranded in St. Louis when their plane was grounded along with all other air traffic after the terrorist attacks. 

The men then got on an Amtrak train to Texas, where they were arrested after authorities found two box cutters, hair dye, a knife and several thousand dollars among their belongings.