May 03, 2016 News
Guyana-born, New York-based Guyanese businessman, Edul Ahmad, who is facing jail time for real estate
fraud, has successfully applied for more time outside, pending his sentencing.
In a letter last month to Judge Dora Irizarry, Ahmad’s lawyer, Steven Kartagener, pointed out that his client had been a critical cooperating witness in the trial of former US Senator, John Sampson.
Sampson, also of Guyanese roots, was found guilty last year of trying to thwart a federal investigation. He had been facing charges for allegedly embezzling state funds when he was appointed to oversee the sales of properties in foreclosure. He attempted to cover up the embezzlement, Prosecutors said.
He was found guilty in late July and is awaiting sentencing on May 18.
Ahmad, a prominent real estate businessman in the New York area, was a key witness who decided to cooperate with prosecutors to sink Sampson, who was a friend. He wore a recording device to a meeting with Sampson.
Ahmad was supposed to have been sentenced since last year but a series of excuses by his lawyer pushed back the dates, time and again. His sentencing is now set for June 10.
In his letter dated April 12 asking for the date to be postponed, the lawyer noted that Ahmad’s sentencing was set for April 25.
He said that consent had been received from prosecutors for his client’s sentencing to be deferred after that of the former senator.
“Defendant was a critical cooperator in the Sampson case. It is our understanding that former
State Senator, Sampson, is presently scheduled to be sentenced on May 18, 2016. Accordingly, we would urge that this court fix a sentencing date for defendant some time in June, 2016.”
According to the lawyer in the letter, by granting the adjournment, the court would be permitting the defendant to get the benefit of his literally hundreds of hours served as a cooperator, which will undoubtedly be chronicled at length when prosecutors submit a key document which would speak of the cooperation.
Ahmad’s sentencing would come more than three years after he pleaded guilty to a mortgage fraud charge in the US.
The sentencing had been delayed for Ahmad, a well-known businessman in both New York and in Guyana, but prosecutors moved in immediately after Sampson was found guilty, instituting proceedings to bring the matter to closure.
In February 2012, Ahmad reportedly wore a wire, recording Sampson during a meeting. In July, he gave testimony during a four-week trial.
Ahmad is well known to tens of thousands of Guyanese living in the New York area, as he was well connected in the real estate business.
A former policeman in Guyana, he appeared in a New York court before Judge Irizarry in October 2012 and pleaded guilty to count one of the ten-count criminal complaints against him, and 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 said that Ahmad was part of a scheme that defrauded American lending institutions of approximately US$50 million, 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 to own their own home, only to find themselves trapped in a Real Estate scheme, ultimately resulting in them losing their homes in foreclosure proceedings, while Ahmad and his co-conspirators made millions of dollars.
Ahmad’s attorney had signaled intentions to challenge the financial loss attributed to him.
Prosecutors have advised a term of between 121 and 151 months (10 years to approximately 13 years) of imprisonment for Ahmad.
Ahmad’s case has attracted much attention from the media in Guyana and in New York.
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