University of Delaware
Attorney General Matt Denn (left) honors ELI alumnus Jaouad Ezzaher.

Citizenship award

ELI graduate honored by state attorney general for efforts to stop scam

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9:08 a.m., April 9, 2015--An English Language Institute (ELI) alumnus and current University of Delaware undergraduate has been honored as a local hero for saving an elderly Delaware man from becoming a victim of a financial scam.

For his quick thinking and good deed, Jaouad Ezzaher was awarded a Citizenship Award by Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn.

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Ezzaher, who came to the U.S. from Morocco in 2009, enrolled in UD’s ELI to improve his English language skills. Upon completion of the program, he applied and was accepted to UD as a computer engineering major.

Ezzaher supports himself through how own taxi company -- FEZ Taxi -- named after his hometown. 

The story unfolded in early February, when Ezzaher picked up an elderly Delaware man who requested that he be driven to a nearby bank. While in the taxi, the man showed signs of distress and remained on the phone for the ride’s entirety. 

When the man then requested that he be taken to a Walgreens to meet the person he had been on the phone with, Ezzaher was suspicious. “My curiosity pushed me to ask him, was it your son that requested the service?”

According to Ezzaher, the man replied, “No, the requester of service was an IRS agent who told him that his assets were frozen, and that he should immediately meet him with cash.”

Ezzaher knew immediately that it was a scam and shared his concerns with his passenger. He drove the elderly gentleman to the police station where he filed a police report, and then delivered him to his home. Ezzaher left no contact information with his recent passenger.

The next day Ezzaher received a call from a representative at the Department of Justice inquiring if he was the taxi owner who had stopped the potential crime. Ezzaher was called a hero by Attorney General Matt Denn, who presented him with an award.

“I just didn't want him to get scammed -- I saw my father there, my grandfather, just someone who needed help,” said Ezzaher. 

Article by Jessica Franzetti 

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