Suspects, charges released after FBI raids Myrtle Beach motel

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched multiple locations in Myrtle Beach Thursday.

According to an FBI agent at the scene of a search at 304 First Avenue, agents executed a search warrant Thursday morning, but could not identify at the time what the FBI was taking from the property or what potential crime is connected to the search.

FBI agents search through rooms of a property at at 304 First Avenue. (Image Source: News13 Jonee' Lewis)
FBI agents search through rooms of a property at at 304 First Avenue. (Image Source: News13 Jonee’ Lewis)

Don Wood, Acting Chief Division Counsel with FBI, says Thursday’s raids are connected to an initial appearance hearing at the Florence Federal Courthouse at 2:30 p.m.

Court documents related to the case name Sherif Abdelwahab Alkassar, 36, of Myrtle Beach, Lesley Amanda Alkassar, 38, of Blacksburg, and Katie Leighanne Polson, 29, of Myrtle Beach, as the defendants connected to the Myrtle Beach raids. The United States District Court documents reveal a criminal complaint made by FBI Special Agent Jennifer Cormack that states the three suspects are accused of:

  • Unauthorized acquisition, use, and possession of benefit cards
  • Fraud by mail
  • False statements relating to naturalization / citizenship

A press release from the U.S. Attorneys Office details that each suspect is charged with Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT card) fraud, but only Sherif Abdelwahab Alkassar faces charges of mail fraud and making false statements regarding citizenship.

Sherif Alkassar will obtain his own attorney, while Lesley Alkassar has requested a public defender and Katie Polson will have CJA counsel, according to court documents.

All three suspects received personal recognizance bonds during Thursday’s hearing. The conditions for release of each suspect are as follows:

Sherif Alkassar

  • Surrender passport
  • Don’t travel outside of SC without permission from probation office
  • Don’t possess “firearm, destructive device, or other weapon”
  • Placed on electronic monitoring for 6 months or until changed by district judge

Lesley Alkassar

  • Surrender passport
  • Don’t travel outside of SC without permission from probation office
  • Don’t possess “firearm, destructive device, or other weapon”

Katie Polson

  • Surrender passport
  • Don’t travel outside of SC without permission from probation office
  • Don’t possess “firearm, destructive device, or other weapon”

The documents state that the crimes occurred in Cherokee County between April 2015 and May 2016.

FBI agents were also seen Thursday morning combing through materials at the 7 Brothers Motel, located at 103 N Ocean Boulevard. A News13 crew at the motel could see federal agents taking photos of electronics, including DVRs and routers, and paperwork within the office area.

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