Edul Ahmad, a real estate broker with ties to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud in Brooklyn Federal Court on Oct. 10.
Ahmad was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York with using straw buyers to defraud banks out of millions. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, the top count on a 10-count indictment.
The Ozone Park man confessed that he knew what he was doing was illegal, according to published reports. He faces 10 to 12 1/2 years in prison, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney said. He will be forced to pay $14 million in restitution and forfeit $500,000.
In addition to being a licensed real estate broker, Ahmad also acted as a loan officer from 1995 to 2009. He was accused of submitting false loan applications and supporting documents to make borrowers appear more creditworthy than they actually were, so that he could profit from the real estate commissions on the deals, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
But it didn’t end there.
Ahmad also submitted fake documents to show that the borrowers had been making payments to the lenders and understated his commission and loan fees, which exceeded the permitted amount, preventing the discovery of any wrongdoing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Many of Ahmad’s clients lost their homes to foreclosure, because they couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments.
In 2007, Ahmad gave Meeks $40,000, which the lawmaker said was a loan, but he didn’t repay it or declare it on his financial disclosure forms until three years later, when the transaction was disclosed by the Daily News and the FBI began investigating Ahmad.
“I expect that the Ethics Committee will review the fact that I took out a loan. I paid the loan back and I amended my disclosure form appropriately,” Meeks told the Chronicle in January.
The transaction is still under investigation by the House Ethics Committee and there is also a federal investigation into Meeks’ ties to an alleged slush fund charity called the New Direction Development Corp., which was supposed to provide money to Hurricane Katrina victims, but allegedly did not.
Published reports intimate that Ahmad has dirt on Meeks that will aid in the federal investigation against the lawmaker and possibly lead to a lighter sentence for the broker.
“I read reports today about the guilty verdict in the Ed Ahmad case,” Meeks said in an email statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by these crimes, and with Ed and his family. With regard to the Ethics Committee, as I have said in the past, I have cooperated fully with the committee and expect to be treated fairly. I hope the committee completes its process sooner rather than later.”
Meeks is not the only public official Ahmad has associated with. His Facebook page shows pictures of him with dignitaries such as state Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), former Public Advocate Mark Green, corrupt former City Councilman Larry Seabrook of the Bronx, and disgraced former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer.