Former Argyle Country Club Employees Indicted in Scheme to Divert Funds from Club Accounts
Allegedly Stole Over $1.8 Million
Greenbelt, Maryland - A grand jury has indicted Sajjad Nazar Mahar, age 48, of Kearneysville, West Virginia and Akinyemi Olufemi Bamisaiye, age 40 of Clarksville, Maryland, for mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, in connection with a scheme to divert funds from their former employer, the Argyle Country Club in Silver Spring, Maryland, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. The indictment was returned on June 9, 2008 and unsealed today upon the arrest of the defendants.
According to the 18-count indictment, Mahar was the General Manager and Bamisaiye the Controller for the Argyle Country Club, and both had access to Argyle accounts. The indictment alleges that from 2001 through about 2006 Mahar and Bamisaiye used their positions at Argyle to create fictitious employees, keep former employees on the payroll and to place on the payroll individuals who provided personal services to the defendants (the ghost employees). The defendants then electronically requested that the company who issued the payroll checks issue paper checks for the ghost employees, which the defendants then deposited into their personal accounts.
Further, the indictment alleges that the defendants wrote checks drawn on the Argyle operating and capital accounts to pay their personal expenses and to lease and purchase vehicles for their personal use. Mahar wrote checks drawn on the Argyle operating account made payable directly to a business which he owned and Bamisaiye also wrote checks on the operating account made payable to businesses owned by his wife.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of $1,893,591, alleged to be the proceeds of the scheme, including vehicles and property belonging to the defendants.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of the 14 counts of mail and wire fraud charged in the indictment. In addition, Bamisaiye and Mahar face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the value of the criminally-derived property for one and three counts of money laundering, respectively.
The defendants had an initial appearance in federal district court at 3:30 p.m. today.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney David I. Salem, who is prosecuting the case.