updated 9/9/2005 8:45:34 PM ET 2005-09-10T00:45:34

A man accused of being involved in a nearly $24 million food stamp fraud scheme has surrendered to federal officials after returning to the United States for medical treatment. He had been living in Jordan for a decade.

Mahmoud “Mike” Salti Jr., 45, was in Detroit and was expected to return to Cleveland next week, his lawyer said.

His lawyer, Angelo Lonardo, said Salti wants to resolve his legal problems.

Prosecutors accuse Salti and his uncle, Mohammed Salti, of buying food stamps from recipients for about 75 cents on the dollar, then redeeming them for full value from the government through stores they controlled.

The Saltis face a judgment of $71 million, which was part of a lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors that allows the government to recover up to three times the amount of the loss.

Salti returned to seek treatment for diabetes and heart and vascular problems and because he wanted to see his children, who stayed in the area.

Jordan had refused to extradite Salti and his uncle, who didn’t return from a trip to the Middle East when they were indicted in 1996. They were charged with conspiracy to traffic in food stamps, money laundering, employing unauthorized aliens and filing false tax returns.

They were arrested in Jordan, but a court there ruled in 1997 that an extradition treaty between Jordan and the United States wasn’t applicable because it hadn’t been approved when they were arrested.

Both are Palestinians who became U.S. citizens. Mohammed Salti remained at large, prosecutors said.

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