[NY Daily News] – A New York-based Guyanese businessman who hoped he could skip prison for helping bring down a powerful politician did not get what he wanted. Instead, Brooklyn Federal Judge Dora Irizarry sentenced cooperator Edul Ahmad to two years behind bars Friday for running a mortgage fraud scam.
Ahmad was an asset in the feds’ case against ex-state Senator John Sampson, Irizarry said. But the judge also said couldn’t ignore the harms of Ahmad’s $3 million scheme.
She laid into Ahmad for a property sale that, she said, broke the terms of his cooperation agreement.
“To me, it does not show full remorse. It does show someone who feels he’s ready to do what he needs to do, laws be damned, rules be damned.”
While it wasn’t the probation sentence Ahmad, 50, was looking for, it also wasn’t the six- to seven-year term he could’ve received. Ahmad was a key witness in the 2015 trial against Sampson, which ended with obstruction of justice convictions but acquittals on other counts. And before Ahmad took the stand for at least half of the prosecution case, Ahmad wore wires and turned over evidence that helped the feds build the case against Sampson. Sampson is appealing his conviction.
Prosecutors said Ahmad’s work earned him a shot at a sentence below federal recommendations. On Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Solomon told Irizarry that Ahmad’s cooperation was “impressive,” once he started talking.
Ahmad was “one the best at making recordings,” he said — Sampson often talked quietly, so Ahmad repeated what he said so it’d be loud and clear for Uncle Sam. Solomon said Ahmad did make some serious flubs — like telling prosecutors the night before his testimony about the improper sale of a property discussed in the cooperation agreement.
Irizzary questioned just how useful Ahmad was on the stand. She pointed to articles in newspapers such as the Daily News, where a juror called Ahmad “dirty.”
She said couldn’t understand “why the government is giving such short shrift to a blatant breach of the cooperation agreement.” Solomon said he wasn’t asking the judge to overlook it.
Ahmad’s lawyer, Samuel Kartagener, said he was “taken aback” by Irizzary’s views. He urged the judge to take the good with the bad.
“I don’t think it suggests Mr. Ahmad should lose all credit for his cooperation here. He is remorseful for the errors he made.” Ahmad told Irizzary he meant no harm with the deal — which was an effort to stop a foreclosure on a property.
Irizarry wasn’t buying that Ahmad — a sophisticated, onetime Lamborghini-driving businessman — didn’t know what he was doing. “You knew you had to disclose to the government if there was any transaction on a property.”
It was a lapse in judgment, said Ahmad. “I never meant to break the cooperation agreement.” After sentencing, Ahmad declined to speak to reporters. Kartagener said he and his client were “disappointed with the result.”