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U.S. News
Robert Ferrari: PennDOT license examiner

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

By Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

For a brief time immediately after the attacks, Pittsburgh appeared to be terrorism central.

In late September and early October, 21 Middle Eastern men were charged in a plot to bribe PennDOT license examiner Robert Ferrari for bogus truck-driving licenses and permits to haul hazardous materials.

Squirrel Hill resident Elmeliani Benmoumen was accused of being the middleman who introduced a group of Iraqi refugees to Ferrari at the State Office Building. Ferrari issued licenses in exchange for cash.

Was it a terrorist cell at work in Downtown Pittsburgh?

No. None of the men turned out to have links to terrorism. Instead, they appeared to be a group willing to pay off a state official so they could earn a living as truck drivers, and most pleaded guilty.

Ferrari, of Turtle Creek, also has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Benmoumen is expected to enter a plea.

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