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February 3, 2010 - 9:39pm

Man who posed as African immigrant to swindle woman out of $2K convicted by jury

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Yusuf A. Hassem aka Louis L. Reed, 69, came to town in April nattily dressed in a gray wool suit and tan overcoat. He will leave Batavia in shackles.

Following a three-day jury trial, Hassem was convicted today of grand larceny 4th.

Hassem posed as a recent African immigrant who needed help with a transaction at Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union. He managed to switch envelopes with a woman, stealing $2,000 cash from her.

Soon after the theft, the Batavia Police sent out a picture of Hassem to local media. The release of the bank surveillance camera photo soon led to Hassem's arrest in Buffalo.

Hassem, who began his career in crime in 1957, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, faces similar charges in Albany and Schenectady. Officials from one of those jurisdictions will likely pick him up at Genesee County Jail following his March 17 sentencing.

"He has a very extensive criminal history for this type of thing and others," Friedman said. "That's unusual right there. I mean, we have a 69-year-old defendant who has been in the system for 53 years."

Judge Robert C. Noonan will have a couple of options in sentencing Hassem to state prison. Now classified as a second-felony offender, he will get either one-and-a-third- to three-years or a term of two to four years in the penetentiary.

Doug Yeomans
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I hope every judge that sees this scum bucket at sentencing gives him the maximum allowable time. Stealing from people who are struggling and have WORKED for what they have is intolerable. Quote: "He has a very extensive criminal history for this type of thing and others," Friedman said. "That's unusual right there. I mean, we have a 69-year-old defendant who has been in the system for 53 years." It's obvious he's never going to change. Sixty nine years old or not, put him away. He victimizes the trusting. It's heinous and despicable.
Jennifer Kahabka
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Was justice really served? The victim will never see a dime of that money back. I believe it would have been a better idea to work up some sort of deal for him to pay the money back. How will he do that from a prison cell?
Doug Yeomans
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How would he do that? Do you think any business will hire a 69 year old thief?
Doug Yeomans
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Maybe he can come and do things for you around the house. How much are you willing to pay him?
Jennifer Kahabka
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My point is that this man is going to be a drain on our society no matter what we do with him. Why not figure something out so the victim can recover her loss? I am sure he has some sort of income coming in, maybe social security that could have been utilized to pay this poor woman back. Instead we throw him into the prison system at 69 years old so we can supply him with medical and dental benefits, shelter,and food. Great trade off.
Julie Morales
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I agree with you, Jennifer. It shouldn’t need to take an excessive amount of time to pay back $2000. Maybe the best justice can do in this case is keep him from scamming additional victims while he’s in prison for a few years.
Bea McManis
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Jennifer, I totally agree that there has to be some way for the victim to receive restitution for what she went through. On the other hand, even though his incarceration may be drain on society, he will be off the streets and not praying on someone else. It would be interesting to learn if arrangements could be made to have his social security checks pay back what is owed to her.
George Richardson
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The problem is you have to pay into social security before you get a check. Postal Workers, who are still civil service, don't pay in and they don't get social security. The same for many teachers. Career criminals kind of fall into a similar situation. If they made a deal for him to pay, he would just scam someone else and probably get away with it. I don't have a problem with him picking up trash on the roadside while wearing a striped prison uniform though.
Howard B. Owens
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I'm trying to get some further information on how restitution works when somebody is sent to jail, but every case I cover involves Judge Noonan asking about restitution at some point. Mr. Hassem will be required to pay restitution, I'm sure. That will be clarified at his sentencing. I just don't know the process for a jailbird.
Tim Howe
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I just wish scumbags like this were made to do HARD TIME. Hard, grueling, tiring, back breaking manual labor for thier entire prison sentence instead of watching cable tv, and getting fed good meals. Don't get me wrong, prison is the BEST place for this loser, i just wish the prison system was not run by liberals. :(

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