Guyanese-American businessman Edul Ahmad pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of bank and wire fraud as part of a deal with federal prosecutors in New York’s Eastern District. Ahmad was indicted on ten counts related to a massive mortgage fraud scheme in August 2011. He will be sentenced in the near future. Sentencing guidelines call for 10 to 13 years in prison.
Ahmad made a $40,000 payment to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) in 2007 that the Congressman failed to disclose on his Financial Disclosure Reports for 2007, 2008, and 2009. Meeks subsequently claimed the $40,000 payment was a loan, but there were no note or payments until several years after the payment was made. Meeks’ omission is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Commitee.
On Wednesday, Meeks made little effort to distance himself from the fraudster, releasing a statement that read, in part: “My thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by these crimes, and with Ed and his family.”
Brooklyn federal law enforcement officials pursuing that case had tried to push Ahmad to spill information about the embattled congressman, but Ahmad refused, sources said.
It is not known if the plea deal requires Ahmad to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Any indictment of a sitting member of Congress would have to be cleared by Attorney General Eric Holder. The current, unwritten Justice Department policy is that no criminal charges may be brought against incumbent members of Congress. Holder failed to bring charges against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and former Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), both of whom admitted to concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and assets. Rangel also admitted that he did not pay taxes on rental income from a Dominican Republic beach house.
Subpoenas have been reportedly issued in an unrelated investigation into Meeks’ steering of millions of taxpayer dollars to nonprofit organizations. Meeks reportedly came under scrutiny by the FBI in 2010 after NLPC exposed his involvement with a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation that, among other questionable dealings, collected money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never got the funds.