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Probation of ex-con linked to anti-Muslim film under review

The convicted felon apparently behind the anti-Muslim film that has caused furor across the Arab world may be in violation of the terms of his probation.

The Office of Probation in the Central District of California is reviewing the case of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was convicted on bank fraud charges and warned against misbehaving on the Internet, said U.S. Courts spokeswoman Karen Redmond.

He was ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Web without approval from his probation officer – and any approved computers were to be used for work only. "Defendant shall not access a computer for any other purpose," the terms read.

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There were also restrictions placed on him enlisting others to get on the Internet for him. A spokesman for the U.S. Probation and Parole Office could not be reached Thursday about whether Nakoula may have violated those terms after the film trailer was loaded onto YouTube.

Nakoula had been arrested in 2009 after federal agents searched his home in Cerritos on suspicion that he had engaged in a scheme to create fake identities and open credit cards in those names, then draw tens of thousands of dollars from the phony accounts.

According to the court file, Nakoula operated under a dizzying array of aliases, including Kritbag Difrat. In June 2010, he was convicted on four counts, including bank fraud and identity theft, and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $794,700.57 in restitution.

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He was released, according to federal records, in June 2011.

He was also convicted in 1997 of possession of ephedrine and hydriodic acid, materials commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine, according to court records.

Authorities testified that Nakoula was transporting pills from a storage facility in Downey to Lake Elsinore.

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-- Robert Faturechi, Kimi Yoshino and Ken Bensinger

 
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