The lawyer did not provide the names of those who could not attend and could not be immediately reached for comment.
Anwar Haque, 50, who faces up to 25 years in jail for his involvement in the scheme that prosecutors said netted him and his 14 accomplices more than $6.8 million, quietly entered the courtroom with his gray-streaked, jet-black hair combed back neatly.
Four members of Haque's family shared an audience bench with representatives of the banks and credit companies that lost money in the scam as his defense attorney, Cornell Bouse, explained to the judge that he needed more time to review probation reports and submitted more than 15 letters of support for his client to the court.
Outside the Kew Gardens courtroom, Haque's brother did not dispute his brother's guilt but said the family was seeking leniency for the father of seven.
"We're really in very bad shape trying to lead our lives in a tough time," said Haque's brother, a doctor completing his residency at a city hospital who asked that his name not be used out of fear of professional stigma.
He said Haque, a Bangladeshi immigrant who has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, is the sole provider for his children, ranging in age from 1 1/2 to 17 years old, his wife and his 75-year-old father. "He's also very repentant and remorseful."
Between 1999 and 2002, Haque and 14 others used their businesses to ring up fictitious credit card purchases on accounts that were never paid, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Law enforcement sources said Haque and his accomplices sent most of the money out of the country to relatives in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Queens County Supreme Court Justice Roberta Dunlop acceded to the defense's request, setting a return date of July 21 at 10:30 a.m.
©2004 Community News Group
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