Defendant Charged in Investment Scam Yielding Millions of Dollars from Investors – and Miami Heat Tickets
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Haider Zafar, 36, formerly of Miami-Dade County, has been charged with five counts of wire fraud in connection with an investment scam that yielded millions of dollars from investors and Miami Heat premium ticket package.
If convicted, Zafar faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count.
According to the indictment, Zafar would introduce and portray himself as Haider Zafar Haswhani, a member of a wealthy and influential Pakistani family that operated several hotels, including the Marriott Hotel bombed in Islamabad, Pakistan, textile plants and oil businesses. He claimed he lived in a penthouse in The Essex house in New York, but also had residences at The Setai, the Mondrian, and 10 Museum Park, across the street from the American Airlines Arena.
In approximately October of 2012, Zafar approached a Miami Heat sales executive and said he wanted to purchase a premium three-season ticket package, which would cost $1,055,000, along with other items related to the Miami Heat and games played at the American Airlines Arena. He was provided the package in anticipation of later payment.
Shortly thereafter, and using this same identity, the indictment alleges Zafar obtained a loan and millions of dollars from investors wanting to invest in an investment opportunity he proposed to them. Zafar, according to the indictment, never invested anything, and instead used the money provided for personal expenses and to pay a portion of what was owed for the Miami Heat tickets.
Though at the time of this offense Zafar was living in Miami-Dade County, Zafar is presently incarcerated in Ohio awaiting sentencing on federal fraud charges there.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis M. Pérez.
An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.