Ed Ahmad seeks plea deal in mortgage fraud scheme
- New York Post
By ISABEL VINCENT and MELISSA KLEIN
(New York Post) A Queens businessman who once gave Congressman Gregory Meeks $40,000 is negotiating a plea deal with federal authorities in Brooklyn, according to court records obtained by The Post.
The “extensive plea negotiations” are scheduled to stretch into the end of February, leaving some to wonder if Meeks pal and Guyanese-born developer Edul Ahmad is helping the feds with other targets.
“That’s a lot of time to negotiate a plea,” said a New York criminal lawyer not connected with the case. “The feds must think there are bigger fish they can catch.”
Ahmad was arrested last July on charges of operating a $50 million mortgage-fraud scheme in Queens. He faces a maximum of 30 years in jail. He is out on $2.5 million bail.
Three alleged co-conspirators — Ahmad’s cricket pals and employees — were also indicted in an associated case last month, court records show.
Queens-based brokers Qayaam Farrouq, Mohamed Gurmohamed and Steve Massiah were charged with defrauding banks and mortgage companies by falsifying mortgage- loan applications to make borrowers appear more creditworthy to financial institutions, court records show.
Ahmad’s relationship with Meeks came under intense scrutiny last year after the Democratic congressman revealed that he had received the $40,000 payment from Ahmad in 2007. Meeks only revealed the payment after Ahmad was questioned by the FBI last year. He claims he repaid the money following the quizzing.
The House ethics committee is probing whether the payment was a gift and not a loan, as the congressman has maintained.
Federal authorities also began investigating Meeks last year because of his ties to a Queens charity — which stiffed Hurricane Katrina victims — that he helped start.
The US has signalled its intention to seize Ahmad’s properties.
The US prosecutors through official court documents filed on October 31, gave notice that it is seeking forfeiture of: a Money Judgment: a sum of money in United States currency in an amount to be determined at his sentencing. They are also looking to have forfeited specific properties namely: “Real Property and Premises known as, 110-19 Atlantic Avenue, Jamaica, New York, identified on the Queens County Tax Map as Block: 9317; Lot 21, and title to which was held in the name of defendant Edul N. Ahmad, on or before May 1, 2011.”
Ahmad was a frequent visitor to Guyana and is known in the country as a friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
In 2009, the Ahmad Group sent 29 tons of building supplies – including roof tiles and kitchen sinks – to Jagdeo at State House in Georgetown, according to shipping records.
Allegations of predatory lending, forged documentation, falsified mortgage information and missing records have dogged Ahmad for years.
US State officials have investigated the real estate broker five times since 2006, referring two of those probes to the Queens District Attorney’s Office for review, according to state Department of State records.
Another probe by the state Banking Department and Department of State in 2007 turned up home buyers who said they were given mortgages for more than they could afford and allegations that their names were forged on documents.
Last July Ahmad was arrested by FBI agents on mortgage fraud charges for allegedly bilking a lender, Countrywide Home Loans, in connection with the purchase of properties in Queens in 2007. He was heading to Guyana at the time of his arrest.