A New York judge has ordered disgraced Guyanese-born New York-based realtor, Edul Ahmad, to be ready for an April 21st sentencing.
Responding to another request by Ahmad’s lawyer for sentencing to be yet again postponed, Judge Dora Irizarry said that she was granting the adjournment “reluctantly”.
Ahmad was supposed to be sentenced since last year, but his lawyer submitted several requests for delays citing illness and the need for the businessman to benefit from time he had spent testifying as star witness against a now convicted former senator, John Sampson.
“Sentencing in this case has been adjourned many times. Moreover, the Court is at a loss as to why the government still has not prepared whatever sentencing letter it is going to submit to the Court,” an impatient Judge Irizarry said Tuesday.
Irizarry who has jailed former drug kingpin, Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan made it clear that she will tolerate no more delays. She then set down the rules.
“The Government’s sentencing letter shall be filed no later than March 24, 2017. Defendant’s sentencing submission shall be filed no later than April 7th, 2017.
Copies of all submissions must be provided to the Probation Department. Two hard courtesy copies of all submissions must be provided to chambers promptly.”
Judge Irizarry set the sentencing to April 21, 2017 at 10:00am.
In January, Sampson, a former New York senator, who has roots in Guyana, was jailed for five years. That sentencing had implications for Ahmad, as it paved the way for him to be sentenced on real estate fraud charges filed against him in 2011 by New York prosecutors.
Sampson, 51, had allegedly misused US$440,000 held in escrow to help finance a political campaign for District Attorney in Brooklyn, then did favours for Ahmad, who gave him US$188,000 to help cover up the misuse of funds.
He was not convicted of those charges, but was convicted of lying to the FBI and recruiting a childhood friend, Sam Noel, who worked for the Brooklyn US Attorney’s office, as a mole to keep track of an investigation of Ahmad, whom he feared might become an informant.
As a result of his felony conviction, Sampson immediately lost his seat in the Legislature.
Ahmad testified that Sampson threatened to silence anyone who was helping investigators. Prosecutors played video and audio recordings of a visibly distraught Mr. Sampson taking a check register that Ahmad indicated could be proof of the embezzlement and putting it in his jacket pocket.
A former policeman in Guyana, Ahmad 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 had advised him that there was 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$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 had 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.
This ultimately resulted in them losing their homes in foreclosure proceedings, while Ahmad and his co-conspirators made millions of dollars.
Ahmad’s case has attracted much attention from the media in Guyana and in New York, fueled by his strong political connections in Guyana and the U.S. He reportedly has properties in Guyana and had shipped containers of building materials to former President Bharrat Jagdeo prior to 2011.
He had once made an application to open a casino and hotel on a plot of land overlooking the army headquarters, Thomas Lands.
Ahmad was supposed to have been sentenced since 2015, but appealed to the New York court several times, successfully, to delay the ruling until after Sampson would have been sentenced.
Ahmad’s lawyer argued that his client had spent hours helping to gather evidence and testifying against Sampson and therefore deserved to be sentenced after the former senator.
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