Today’s news:

Elmhurst man sentenced for computer scam ring

A former East Elmhurst man was sentenced to four to eight years in prison for his involvement in a scam ring that bilked major computer companies out of millions of dollars in computer equipment by setting up fake companies, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said last Thursday.

“The defendant and others fraudulently obtained expensive computer equipment by using dummy companies validated by a smokescreen of phony credentials and then sold the equipment to legitimate retailers at reduced prices,” Brown said.

Rami Hassan, 24, led national and international law enforcement agencies on an 18-month worldwide manhunt through the United States, Europe and South America before finally being arrested by Colombian police in Bogota on April 24, 2003.

He was sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman in Queens.

When Hassan, an American citizen from Kuwait, pleaded guilty last month, he admitted that between November 2000 and Sept. 30, 2001 he formed part of the Nassau- and Queens-based Khan fraud organization, Brown said.

The ring used the Internet to research expensive computer equipment and corporate lease policies at several manufacturers, including IBM, Gateway, Dell, Apple and Sony, Brown said. Members of the group then used fake business credentials to lease $1.7 million in computer equipment they later sold at discounted prices to legitimate retailers. The ring also obtained $300,000 in luxury cars, a DA spokeswoman said last month.

Hassan and 15 other members of the Khan ring were charged in a 140-count indictment filed in May 2002.

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