FBI drags Guyanese from Delta flight bound to Guyana
- on US$2.5M bail for fraud
The Federal Bureau of Information yesterday dragged scandal-scarred Queens and Guyanese businessman, Edul Ahmad, off a Georgetown-bound Delta airlines flight, as US authorities investigate him for extensive scheme to extract money from unsuspecting home buyers.
Ahmad had already boarded Delta 383 at JFK International to head to Guyana when Federal agents boarded the aircraft, handcuffed him and removed him from the aircraft.
The New York Daily News reported that Ahmad, called a “loan wolf” because of mortgage fraud investigations, posted the US$2.5 million bail, and declined comment.
He was hit with a criminal complaint alleging that he conducted an extensive scheme to commit mortgage fraud, regularly lying about applicants’ income and using straw buyers to hide his involvement.
His lawyer, Steven Kartagner, declined to discuss whether Ahmad was in discussions with the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S attorney before his arrest, the New York Daily news reported.
Ahmad, best known as a Queens, New York real estate agent, raised eyebrows when he made a questionable $40,000 “loan” to Representative Greg Meeks. Ahmad is a key figure in ongoing probes of the “loan” Meeks forgot to repay for 3 1/2 years until the Daily News exposed it.
In January 2007, Ahmad gave Meeks $40,000 to finish paying off the congressman’s new $830,000 home. There was no discussion of interest rates, collateral, due dates and no documents were generated at the time, sources familiar with the transaction have told The News.
Meeks did not list the transaction on 2007 or 2008 financial disclosure forms he filed with the House, revealing it for the first time in a 2009 form that was filed in mid-2010.
In July 2010, shortly after The News revealed details of this transaction and the FBI paid Ahmad a visit, Meeks suddenly paid back the money and called it a loan.
Meeks is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation, as well as a probe by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
He faced lawsuits in July last year alleging predatory lending and real-estate fraud and faced foreclosure action on a Jamaica home in 2009.
Ahmad recently opened a place called Building Materials and Appliances Depot located at Industrial Site, Ruimveldt, just in front of the publishing house of the ruling party’s newspaper, the Mirror.
One year ago, Ahmad faced a suit by two Queens brothers, immigrants from Bangladesh, who accused him of predatory lending and fraud.
The men say they contacted Ahmad in 2006 about two neighboring homes for sale in Queens but claim he falsely told them that only one was available and that another buyer was ready to snatch it up, according to court papers.
It is reported that Ahmad “demanded” a US$20,000 deposit and told the men they had to close on the three-family property, built by Ahmad’s brother, within a week.
According to news reports court papers quote the men as saying they were also told that they had to use Ahmad’s in-house mortgage broker and were advised against using their own lawyer, court papers say.
The men claim they realized too late that “they had been induced into an excessively priced mortgage.”
The suit alleges that the buyers’ incomes were falsified to make it appear as if they could afford the loan and that they were required to take out a mortgage for the entire $880,000 purchase price.
The suit charges that Ahmad, his companies and his brother “specifically prey on immigrants from the South Asian community.”
Ahmad’s real-estate licence was suspended for two months in 2008 after New York’s Department of State accused him of improperly sending a solicitation to a Queens couple on a cease-and-desist list that forbids real-estate agencies from asking for their business.
Ahmad, 43, immigrated to the United States from Guyana in 1983 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Baruch College in 1988.
He started his company, the Ahmad Group, in 1993, according to the company’s Web site.
His diverse business interests include Century 21 Ahmad Realty, a mortgage brokerage and a catering hall in Richmond Hill. He also sells tubs and lighting fixtures through a firm called Wholesale Building Supplies, and was also said to have a company called Pure Rice Manufacture.
He also has a cricket company named after him, and sponsors cricket events here in Guyana.
According to the New York Post, Ahmad lives the high life in a mansion in South Ozone Park. The newspaper said his fleet of cars over the last few years has included a 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo (with a base price of US$165,000), a 2003 Mercedes SL500R roadster and a succession of Range Rovers.
Despite this, Ahmad cried poverty in legal papers filed in 2008 as part of the license-suspension case.