On Friday, the FBI arrested Ed Ahmad, the Guyanese businessman who made an unsecured $40,000 loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that Meeks failed to publicly disclose as required. Ahmad was charged with mortgage fraud in connection to a wide-ranging scheme that involved faking income for applicants and the use of straw buyers. He was reportedly released on $2.5 million bail.
According to one report, “Ahmad had already boarded Delta 383 at JFK International to head to Guyana when Federal agents boarded the aircraft, handcuffed him and removed him from the aircraft.”
As first reported in the New York Daily News, Meeks made no payments on the loan, and repaid it only after the FBI started asking questions. Meeks used the money to finish paying off his new home, sources told the Daily News.
Meeks first disclosed the loan on his financial disclosure report that all members of Congress were required to file by May 17 for the preceding 2009 calendar year. Meeks filed late on June 15. Click here to download a 5-page pdf of the report. The Ahmad loan was made in 2007, meaning Meeks failed to disclose it on his 2007 and 2008 forms.
Meeks then filed two letter “amendments,” both dated June 18, but filed separately on June 21 and 23. Both state that “the loan has been repaid in its entirety,” but neither contained any specific loan terms.
The Daily News reported that Meeks made no payments on the loan until after the FBI contacted Ahmad. Meeks cut a check for $59,000 to reflect the $40,000 principal and accrued interest of 12.5%, according to the News’s sources.
The FBI investigation is the apparent result of NLPC’s scrutiny of Meeks and other New York politicians.
In January 2010, we exposed Meeks involvement in a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received it, among other questionable dealings. In March, we asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Meeks for paying $830,000 for a newly built home in 2006 that was worth more than $1.2 million. Click here to download a 26-page pdf of the Complaint.
The Complaint also asked for an investigation into Meeks’ relationship with indicted Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford, first reported in the Miami Herald. Former Stanford employees alleged that Stanford asked Meeks in 2006 to help retaliate against a former Stanford executive named Gonzalo Tirado in Venezuela who was attempting to blow the whistle on Stanford fraud. Stanford allegedly asked Meeks to contact Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. One month after Stanford made the request, Meeks flew to Venezuela to meet with Chavez. Tirado was indicted a year later.
In addition, Meeks took six trips to Caribbean destinations such as Antigua and St. Lucia, courtesy of a nonprofit called the Inter-American Economic Council, which was a Stanford-funded front group.
The Daily News reported on July 9, 2010 that Meeks received a loan from Democratic Party donor Dennis Mehiel to repay Ahmad. Meeks signed a 10-year loan for $59,650 from Mehiel’s firm, Four Investments, at 7.3% annual interest.
The House Ethics Committee announced earlier this month that it reviewing Meeks. Although the Committee did not specify the nature of its inquiry, it is reportedly related to the Ahmad loan.