Guyanese Ed Ahmad pleads guilty to mortgage fraud in New York court
Written by Demerara Waves
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:59
New York-based Realtor, Ed Ahmad on Wedneday pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and could face up to 13 years imprisonment.
Ahmad, who was indicted on a US$50 million mortgage fraud, handed in his guilty plea at 12:08 (New York time), less than one month after he entered a plea bargain.
Ahmad, a former member of the Guyana Police Force, plead guilty to count one of his indictment when he appeared before Judge Dora Irazarry.
The New York court would soon issue a schedule leading up to the sentencing.
US Attorney Alexander A. Solomon indicated that the prosecution would be seeking 121 to 151 months jail terms- the equivalent to about 10-12 years 7 months., a few short of 13 years. The financial penalties totalling US$42 million include US$14 million in restitution, US$28 million in criminal fine and a mandatory criminal forfeiture of US$500,000.
Defense Attorney, Steven R. Kartagener indicated that he would contest the actual amount of the monetary loss Ahmad is responsible for, a move that could possibly result in a reduction in the monetary penalties. The two sides are expected to argue and make written submissions between now and the date of sentencing.
The criminal fine and restitution are based on the government’s estimate of loss in the amount of US$14 million. The criminal fine is twice the gross loss. Restitution is in addition to criminal fine. . Between now and sentencing the parties are expected to argue and make submissions on the actual amount of monetary loss
Ahmad, a close friend of former Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo, was visibly nervous and spoke with a broken voice.
He plead guilty to count one of bank and wire fraud and said his attorney had no viable defence. The offence included conspiracy to defraud various lending institutions by doing false appraisals of the values of properties.
The offences were committed between January 1995 and January 2009.
In 2011, Ahmad was reportedly removed from a Guyanese-bound airplane on the tarmac at JFK airport by the FBI and was indicted in connection with a massive $50 million mortgage fraud scheme.
Ahmad’s financial dealings have been also caught up in New York’s politics. Ahmad made a $40,000 payment to Rep. 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 $40,000 payment was a loan, but there were no note 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.
Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Guyanese businessman Ed Ahmad, who has been indicted in a $50 million mortgage fraud scheme, have reached a plea arrangement.
According to a letter seen by this newspaper and which was filed today by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander A Solomon, Ahmad’s matter was yesterday adjourned to October 10 for a “guilty plea.”
As such he said that the prosecution and the defence are requesting from Judge Dora Irizarry that time be excluded from the speedy trial computation between September 21 and October 20 for “the purpose of permitting the parties to finalise their plea negotiations.”
Ahmad had made a US$40,000 payment to Rep 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 $40,000 payment was a loan, but there were no note 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 Meeks “refused to cooperate with the OCE’s investigation,” NLPC noted.
Ahmad was detained last July on charges that he operated a US$50 million mortgage-fraud scheme in Queens, New York. He faces a maximum of 30 years in jail. He is currently on US$2.5 million bail.
Ahmad’s case has attracted great interest in Guyana because of his close ties to former president Bharrat Jagdeo. Ahmad had shipped a container of goods to Jagdeo at State House and many questions were asked about this.
Three alleged co-conspirators — Ahmad’s cricket friends and employees — were also indicted in an associated case last year, court records show.
The report said that Queens-based brokers Qayaam Farrouq, Mohamed Gurmohamed and Guyanese cricketer 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 matter against Massiah has since been dismissed without prejudice.
-Steve Massiah charged in related case
By STABROEK EDITOR | LOCAL | SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2011
Guyanese and Queens, New York businessman Ed Ahmad charged with operating a US$50M mortgage fraud scheme in New York is negotiating a plea deal according to a US newspaper.
Ahmad who came to notice in the US media after it was disclosed that he once gave New York Congressman Gregory Meeks US$40,000 is negotiating a plea deal with federal authorities in Brooklyn, the New York Post said, according to court records it obtained.
According to the Post, the “extensive plea negotiations” are scheduled to stretch into the end of February.
“That’s a lot of time to negotiate a plea,” said a New York criminal lawyer not connected with the case. “The feds must think there are bigger fish they can catch”, the Post reported.
Ahmad was detained last July on charges that he operated a US$50 million mortgage-fraud scheme in Queens. He faces a maximum of 30 years in jail. He is presently on US$2.5 million bail.
According to the Post, three alleged co-conspirators — Ahmad’s cricket friends and employees — were also indicted in an associated case last month, court records show.
The report said that 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 Post noted that Ahmad’s relationship with Meeks came under intense scrutiny last year after the Democratic congressman disclosed that he had received the US$40,000 payment from Ahmad in 2007. Meeks only disclosed the payment after Ahmad was questioned by the FBI last year. He claims he repaid the money following the questioning.
The House ethics committee is probing whether the payment was a gift and not a loan, as the congressman has maintained.
The Post said that Federal authorities also began investigating Meeks last year because of his ties to a Queens charity.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/meeks_money_man_eyes_plea_deal_78rhT3okv9VV88N1FM7v8J#ixzz1gF5K8DSy
Ed Ahmad could face more charges
– other suspects to be added to case
More charges are possible and more defendants are likely to be added the mortgage fraud case involving Guyana-born, Queens businessman Edul Ahmad.
At a status conference today in the court of Federal Judge Dora Irizarry, Counsel for the US Government, Alexander Solomon, informed that in approximately two months, more charges could be filed against Ahmad and other persons.
Solomon also said that his team is presently perusing over 50 boxes of materials containing mainly bank mortgage documents, including loan files, and it will take about two weeks for these to be copied and delivered to the defence team, as part of the discovery procedure.
Given the need for the defence, led by Steven Kartagener, to have time to study the documents, Judge Irizarry then set October 28th as the next court date for Ahmad.
Meanwhile, the Queens businessman is taking issue with what he sees as sensationalism in the media regarding the case.
Ahmad, a close friend of President Bharat Jagdeo was adamant that he was never “dragged or taken” off any aircraft as was carried in the press but did admit to being met at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York by law enforcement officials and arrested.
At the time of his arrest, Ahmad was heading to Guyana.
He believes that he will be fully vindicated at the end of these proceedings despite the charges he faces. These charges include one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and 10 counts of bank fraud.
Ahmad is presently on US$2.5M bail and was also subjected to electronic monitoring.