Nine of 16 people indicted May 1 on charges of walking off with $2 million by setting up phony businesses to obtain computers and cars in Queens County as well as Nassau County have fled, the Queens district attorney said.
The nine fugitives, seven of whom had been living Queens, are believed to be in Jordan, Canada, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the United States, the DAs office said. Seven others who were indicted are being held in jail or have posted bail and are expected to appear in court some time in the next two months.
The accused allegedly set up dummy companies to sell computers and cars that were obtained on false credit from companies such as computer giants IBM, Dell, Gateway, Compaq and Sony, DA Richard Brown told a news conference last Thursday. The goods were sold to legitimate companies at heavily reduced prices.
What set this criminal enterprise apart was its sophistication and corporate savvy, Brown said, adding that the ring was the first of its kind in the city.
The defendants, a group made of mostly Pakistani immigrants with business experience, have been charged with crimes including enterprise corruption, grand larceny, falsifying business records and conspiracy.
The 140-count indictment, which could land some defendants in prison for up to 25 years, stemmed from a two-year investigation that was launched after a major corporation told the police it believed it was being ripped off, the DA said.
The group, which had 12 members living in Queens, bought the personal identity information of several Pakistani people living in the city and used it in setting up dummy corporations, the DA said. By forging company documents and credentials and renting office space in Queens and Nassau counties with Internet and telephone service, the enterprises appeared legitimate, he added.
The gang allegedly fabricated or stole company names like Computer Care Inc., an inactive Flushing-based computer supply firm that had not yet legally decertified itself. In the case of Computer Care, the gang supposedly opened up a shop under that name at 116-23 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill and used it to open up a company checking account, Brown said.
The DA said the group had checking accounts under each of its stolen or fake company names. The accounts, along with phony personal identification, corporation names and documents, allowed the members to fool credit agency Dun and Bradstreet and several other corporations into believing it had good credit, Brown said.
After buying or leasing about $1.7 million worth of computers based on phony credit, the gang sold the merchandise at reduced prices using salesmen like Jay Rehan of 44-33 65th St. in Woodside, the DA said.
The gang allegedly followed the same process in purchasing seven luxury cars valued at more than $200,000 from a Brooklyn car dealer and selling five of them. When payment came due on the goods, the phony companies disappeared, the DA said.
Tariq Khan, of Levittown, was the alleged leader of the white- collar crime ring and was being held without bail, a spokesman for the district attorney said. Adil Khan of Brooklyn and Nadim Ahmed of 66-17 242nd St. in Douglaston are accused of being the gangs top lieutenants, he said. They have also been indicted on previous charges and are out on $250,000 in bail, according to the DAs office.
Salena Sueidan of 117-30 135th St. in Ozone Park posted $50,000 for bail after being indicted on a previous charge and Rami Hassan of 21-19 76th St. in East Elmhurst is believed to have fled to Jordan, the DAs office said. Jay Rehan is being held in jail and bail has been set at $750,000, the DAs spokesman said.
The other 10 members of the ring are charged with selling their names to the gang or using their identification during background credit checks. Only two are not considered fugitives. They are Kamran Khan of Jackson Heights and Jason Kadigari of Jamaica Estates, who each posted $100,000 bail. the DA said.
The other eight have fled from authorities, the DAs office said. They are Jangjodh Singh and Chaudhry Sahi of Richmond Hill, Khawaja Fayyaz of Astoria, Shahid Akram of East Elmhurst, Abid Shaw and Khalid Khan of Jamaica, Tariq Mahmood of Brooklyn, and Mohammad Malik of Connecticut, the DA said.
Reach reporter Brendan Browne by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 155.
©2002 Community News Group
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