USA cricket captain Steve Massiah has declined comment on his indictment in the US on mortgage fraud charges.
ESPN reporter Peter Della Penna said that Massiah, a Guyanese, declined comment when contacted by ESPN Cricinfo and USA Cricket Association officials were also mum.
ESPN said that Robert Nardoza, public affairs officer with the United States Attorney’s Office representing the Eastern District of New York, confirmed the charges to ESPNcricinfo in a US$50M mortgage related to Guyanese business Edul Ahmad who faces similar charges.
Massiah, 32, is one of three men accused of defrauding banks and mortgage companies by allegedly falsifying mortgage loan applications to make borrowers appear more creditworthy to financial institutions. He was arrested at least two weeks ago before being released and is alleged to be a co-conspirator of Ahmad, who was indicted by the US Attorney’s Office in August on 10 counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.
ESPN said that Ahmad is known in the US cricket community primarily for sponsoring the Ed Ahmad Caribbean Cup, which was New York’s premier cricket tournament from 2005 through 2008.
The report said that it is unclear if Massiah will be able to participate for the USA in the World Twenty20 Qualifier, in UAE next March, as multiple sources believe the charges may have led to him having his passport confiscated by federal authorities.
“As far as Mr. Massiah is concerned, he is innocent until proven otherwise and USACA is not going to make any comment because USACA does not have any facts in front of it,” Ahmed Jeddy, chairman of the USACA cricket committee, told ESPNcricinfo. USACA general manager Manaf Mohamed, who is also a member of the USACA cricket committee, was unsure whether Massiah would face any disciplinary action from USACA, the ESPN report said.
“I have to get directions from the board on that,” Mohamed said. “I wasn’t aware of anything. I saw him last week. He was here in Florida for a tournament.” Sources present at the $50,000 US Cricket Open tournament in Lauderhill, Florida, from December 1-4, said Massiah played in the play-off rounds but did not participate in the group matches for his team because he was late arriving to the event, ESPN said.
The report noted that Massiah and Ahmad have worked closely together in the past, but it is unclear what their current business relationship is. Massiah had been employed as a real estate agent under Ahmad at Century 21 Ahmad Realty in New York, for at least seven years, a source told ESPN. However it said that Massiah’s name, along with the two others who were arrested and charged as co-conspirators, are no longer listed as real estate agents on a web site for Ahmad Realty.