Ed Ahmad, US finalising plea bargain agreement – Prosecutor
- October date set
US Federal Prosecutors and lawyers for Guyana-born businessman, Edul Ahmad, who has been indicted in a US$50M mortgage fraud scheme, have apparently reached a plea bargain arrangement that will be made public next month, according to the National Legal and Policy Center.
A letter filed Wednesday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander A. Solomon, of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York and addressed to Dora Irizarry, District Judge of Eastern District of New York, stated that “after extensive plea negotiations, the parties have reached a tentative agreement as to a proposed pretrial resolution. Therefore, the parties jointly request a plea date for sometime during the week of October 8, 2012.”
Ahmad became the focus of a US investigation after he reportedly made a US$40,000 payment to Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY) in 2007 that the Congressman failed to disclose on his Financial Disclosure Reports for 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Meeks subsequently claimed the US$40,000 payment was a loan, but there were no notes or payments until several years after the payment was made.
Last year the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate the matter. The OCE reported that Rep. Meeks “refused to cooperate with the OCE’s investigation.”
In 2011, Ahmad was reportedly prevented from boarding a Guyana-bound aircraft at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport by the FBI and was indicted in connection with a massive multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
The National Legal and Policy Center report yesterday said it first exposed Meeks’ involvement with a questionable charity in January 2010. In March 2010, NLPC filed a lengthy complaint with the House Ethics Committee asking it to investigate the Congressman’s financial dealings with Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford (who was subsequently convicted) and numerous questionable circumstances surrounding the construction of a new home for Meeks.
The Ahmad loan was disclosed by Meeks only after media scrutiny of his finances, and reportedly, inquiries from the FBI.
Ahmad was arrested last year July on charges of operating the US$50M mortgage-fraud scheme in Queens. Facing a maximum of 30 years in jail, he was placed on US$2.5M bail.
Three alleged co-conspirators — Ahmad’s cricket pals and employees — were also indicted in an associated case last November, 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. The case against Massiah has since been dismissed.
The US had signaled its intention to seize Ahmad’s properties.
The US prosecutors through official court documents filed on October 31 gave notice that they are 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 in Jamaica, New York.
Allegations of predatory lending, forged documentation, falsified mortgage information and missing records have dogged Ahmad, a popular Queens figure, 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 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.
Ahmad, who reportedly has close ties to former President Bharrat Jagdeo, has established a major hardware store in Industrial Site, Ruimveldt, and is said to own a number of properties in Guyana.
The spotlight, locally, was on the businessman last year after revelations that he had earlier sent a number of containers to the former President. 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.