VAN NUYS : Closing Arguments Made in Perjury Case

A Van Nuys businessman was rich when he signed two documents stating that he was too poor to pay for court fees and that he could only afford one meal a day, a prosecutor charged Thursday.

In closing arguments in a perjury trial, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Schuit said Amnon Charash played "shell games" with bank accounts to hide assets.

"What we're dealing with here is a man who wouldn't know the truth if it ran over him," Schuit told the jury. "What we're dealing with here is a man who is a con artist."

Charash, 49, is charged with filing two applications to waive court fees--once in October, 1988, and again in June, 1990--even though a loan application filled out between these dates states his net worth to be over $500,000 with income of $5,300 a month.

"The bottom line is this guy's got money everywhere," Schuit said.

In his testimony, Charash distanced himself from the loan document, stating that he did not fill out the loan application, and if he signed the document it was blank at that time.

But a loan officer, called as a surprise witness Thursday morning, said Charash provided the information that the bank official placed on the document and then Charash signed the completed form in his presence.

Defense attorney Bruce Hill, in his closing argument, wondered why a jury is being asked to decide if Charash lied when a judge failed to take action on the matter in 1989.

The jury in the case will begin deliberation this morning.

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