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.