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Housing probe

Tony Best

Housing probe

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SOME WEST INDIAN cricketers are now facing federal criminal charges in New York, accused of engaging in massive housing fraud in the city.
As a result of an ongoing federal investigation, Steve Massiah, a Guyanese who is captain of the United States cricket team, was arrested and accused of participating in a US$50 million scheme in which bogus buyers of real estate properties provided false information about their employment and income to secure mortgage loans from finance companies and banks and then quickly resell the properties without making a single payment on the loans.
The upshot: houses, some valued at about US$400 000, were bought and sold in a matter of weeks, with the alleged schemers pocketing the windfall profits from the deal.
According to published reports and court documents, the cricketers, Massiah among them, were allegedly recruited from Guyana by Edul Ahmad, a real estate loan officer and broker in Queens, who was a patron of the city’s cricket leagues.
Once in the United States, the sportsmen were placed on his company’s payroll as managers and agents, and this allowed them to apply and receive mortgage loans totalling several millions of dollars between 2006 and 2007 from Countrywide, court documents allege.
Read the full story in today’s DAILY NATION.