Sunday, February 28, 2010

Queens Con Artist Raghunath on Lam in $7M Mortgage Fraud by John Marzulli - NY Daily News

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The FBI is hunting for a Queens man who went on the lam last week before he could be arrested for masterminding a $7 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Ishwardat (Danny) Raghunath, 46, a Guyanese national, is accused of ripping off lenders and leaving numerous homes in foreclosure.

He allegedly recruited straw buyers with good credit ratings to purchase homes in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, according to an indictment in Brooklyn Federal Court.

In exchange for a $5,000 fee for using their names, the buyers were promised that they would not have to make payments on these "investment opportunities," the indictment says.

Raghunath submitted bogus mortgage applications to lenders, inflating the sales price of the properties, then deposited the loan money in a bank account he controlled.

After several months the mortgage payments stopped, and the lenders brought foreclosure actions against the buyers.

Also charged in the scheme are Halal Ahmed, 40, of the Bronx, and Phyllis Seemongal, 49, of Queens. They were arraigned on bank and wire fraud charges on Tuesday.

When FBI agents went to Raghunath's home in South Ozone Park on Monday night, he was already gone, said a spokesman for the FBI.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at (212) 384-5000.