More than two years after pleading guilty to mortgage fraud spanning a period of 15 years, Guyanese-born real estate
mogul, Edul Ahmad is set to pay over US$500,000 he agreed to pay as part of the forfeiture process.
On November 28th, US Attorneys wrote Judge Dora Irizarry of the Eastern District of New York, asking that she grant a forfeiture order.
Ahmad, well known in Guyana for his hardware business and other interests, has to pay the monies before he is sentenced.
It is now more than likely that the New York-based businessman is to be sentenced soon.
On October 10, 2012, the defendant pleaded guilty, before the same Judge, on count one of the ten-count criminal complaints against him. He told the court that his attorney has advised him that there is no viable defence to the charges against him.
In admitting guilt, Ahmad told Judge Irizarry that between January 1995 and January 2009, within the Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, together with others, he knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud several lending institutions, in a mortgage fraud scheme that lasted almost 15 years.
The United States Attorney’s office alleges that Ahmad was part of a scheme that defrauded American lending institutions of approximately US$50M, obtaining approval for mortgages on various properties by falsifying documents submitted to the lending institutions, using a string of straw buyers, and other illegal practices.
In detailing the allegations against the Queens businessman with strong political connections, Judge Irizarry outlined a scheme which had as its victims not only financial institutions, but also many ordinary New Yorkers, most of whom were Guyanese immigrants pursuing the American dream of owning their own homes only to find themselves trapped in a real estate scheme, which ultimately resulted in them losing their homes in foreclosure proceedings while Ahmad and his
co-conspirators made millions of dollars.
Ahmad admitted in court that he knew what he was doing was illegal.
Before Ahmad entered his plea, in 2012, Judge Irizzary informed him that his guilty plea would mean that he would be faced with a mandatory US$500,000 criminal forfeiture, a fine that is double the gross monetary loss caused by his conduct.
The government has pegged the momentary loss at US$14M which means that Ahmad would face a criminal fine of US$28M in addition to US$14M in restitution, exposing him to monetary penalties in the total amount of US$42.5M.
While the offence that Ahmad pleaded guilty to carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines will determine exactly how much of the 30 years he is actually sentenced to.
Prosecutors had asked for a jail term of between 121 and 151 months (10 to approximately 13 years) of imprisonment.
Ahmad would also be placed on probation for a period that could be up to five years after serving his time.
Ahmad’s case has attracted much attention from the media in Guyana and in New York, fueled by his strong political connections locally and in the U.S.
Prior to the fraud charges, Ahmad reportedly had close links with Guyana’s ruling political party, even reportedly shipping containers of construction materials to former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
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