Sep 14, 2011 News
Authorities in the United States of America are moving ahead aggressively to crush the alleged mortgage fraud ring headed by Guyanese businessman Edul Ahmad.
This follows the indictment of another Guyanese, Premraj Hansraj, who is said to be Ahmad’s right-hand man and who investigators say played an integral role in the alleged scheme.
US authorities had unsealed indictments against Hansraj in July this year for Attempt and Conspiracy to commit Mail Fraud, and Fraud in Foreign Labour Contracting.
He was arrested in the state of Texas two months ago, and has been placed on US$10,000 bail.
Three days after Hansraj’s arrest, Ahmad was held as he was about to board a flight to his homeland in Guyana.
Prosecutors believe that Ahmad got word that his partner was arrested in Texas, and was attempting to flee to Guyana when he was held by FBI officials at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Ahmad, who has been placed on US$2.5M bail, was previously subjected to electronic monitoring and was subsequently denied permission to fly to Guyana.
According to court documents filed by FBI Special Agent Bryan Treblehorn – the same officer who filed the charges against Ahmad – on or about and between January and July of 2007, Hansraj, together with others conspired to execute a scheme to defraud US mortgage company, Countrywide Home Loans, and to obtain moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities and other property, by means of materially false and fraudulent pretences, representations and promises.
Hansraj, the court documents revealed, between 2005 and 2008 worked as a Loan Officer and Processor for a Mortgage Brokerage business owned by Ahmad.
Investigations have revealed that on numerous occasions, Hansraj obtained mortgage loans from lenders through fraudulent means.
According to the US Special Agent, information about the scheme was gleaned from a cooperating witness who has already pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges, arising from their part in the mortgage fraud scheme, and is cooperating with the government with the hope of receiving a lesser sentence.
The cooperating witness, who worked with Ahmad for 15 years, told investigators that copies of falsified deposit cheques and payment cheques were often submitted during the scheme in order to deceive the lenders into believing that potential buyers of properties had made payment to the sellers at the closings of deals, and that the buyers were financially qualified to receive mortgage loans.
The cooperating witness said that on numerous occasions, upon Ahmad’s request, Hansraj supplied him with falsified deposit cheques and payment cheques that were created by Hansraj.
“The cooperating witness further stated that whenever he/she or other co-conspirators required a fraudulent cheque, they would contact Hansraj. Additionally, the cooperating witness informed the government that Hansraj and CC-1 (Ahmad) participated in the preparation of additional mortgage loan applications containing material misstatements,” the FBI Special Agent stated in his affidavit in support of the charge.
The investigations have revealed that Hansraj and others managed to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans on two properties in South Ozone Park and Jamaica, New York, both owned by Ed Ahmad.
For example, the mortgage application stated that the buyer earned US$9,850 per month as an Executive Chef at a catering business owned by Ahmad.
However, the buyer never worked at the business as a Chef.
Moreover, the cooperating witness revealed that at all times the buyer was married to Ahmad and never intended to live at the South Ozone Park property, but lived together at another address instead.
With regards to the Jamaica, Queens property, the Special Agent told the court that he had retrieved mortgage loan documents which showed that the defendants managed to secure loans in the sum of US$292,500.
Hansraj is under stringent pre-trial liberty conditions, including the mandatory surrender of his passport and authorised travel documents to the US Pretrial Services Office.
He shall remain under the supervision of the Pretrial Services Office during the pendency of the matter.
The Pretrial Services Office has the authority to grant or deny any request by Hansraj for temporary travel outside El Paso County, Texas.
“The defendant shall not travel to Mexico or any other foreign country, and no permission for such travel will be granted. No travel to Guyana,” according to a release order from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas El Paso Division.
Additionally, Hansraj shall not possess or otherwise have custody or control of a firearm, destructive device or other dangerous weapon. His co-conspirator, Ahmad, is scheduled to return to court on October 28.
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