News and Press Releases

New Zealand Native Duped Investors Out of More than $300,000

December 16, 2008

YAHYA NAJIB NAWABI, a/k/a ALEX NAWABI, 33, of Northridge, California, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 54 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Making False Statements to Law Enforcement. U. S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton also ordered NAWABI to pay $324,700 in restitution to the victims. NAWABI, originally from Afghanistan, pleaded guilty on September 5, 2008. His girlfriend, BEENA BEDI, pleaded guilty on September 12, 2008, to Making False Statements to the FBI. BEDI is scheduled to be sentenced on March 6, 2009. Judge Leighton told NAWABI, “You are a con-artist, a flim-flam man, you were out to get people’s money, not to get them loans.”

According to documents filed in this case, NAWABI, assisted by BEDI, pretended to be “Alex Nawabi” the Chief Executive Officer of AMX Global Funding, Inc. (AMX), a California corporation, which they falsely portrayed as a “global financial powerhouse,” transacting billions of dollars of business. In reality, AMX was nothing more than a false website, a bank account and a post office box. According to the website, AMX supposedly could arrange financing for a great variety of purposes, including purchases of residential and commercial real estate, heavy industrial equipment, golf course construction, timberland and precious stones. NAWABI also acted out the role of AMX executive “Alex Nawabi,” in personal meetings and in wire communications, in order to induce fraud victims into entrusting him and BEDI with their money.

Although the money turned over by the victims was supposed to be used as down payments for loans, or for investment purposes, NAWABI and BEDI converted the money to their own use. They laundered it through transfers among multiple business and personal bank accounts. NAWABI further deceived his victims by representing to them that he owned emeralds worth millions of dollars, and that he would provide the emeralds to the victims as “collateral” for the loans. The emeralds, however, were near-worthless. Once the victims had given their money to NAWABI and BEDI, NAWABI attempted to prevent them from complaining or reporting the fraud scheme by lulling them with false stories about the continued progress of the supposed business deals, as well as false stories of how the deals were being delayed by supposed legal difficulties suddenly suffered by the AMX corporation.

In all, NAWABI defrauded nine (9) victims out of $324,700. These victims resided in Scottsdale, AZ; Tacoma, WA; Salem, OR; Long beach, CA; Newark, CA; Universal City, CA; and St. Paul, MN. During 2004 and 2005, one victim, from Tacoma, Washington, gave NAWABI and BEDI approximately $135,000 as part of her attempt to purchase a small business in Tacoma. Even after learning that they were under investigation by law enforcement, NAWABI and BEDI continued their efforts to defraud additional victims by successfully defrauding two New Zealanders, residing in Long Beach, California, out of $80,000 and $20,000 respectively. Ultimately, NAWABI and BEDI used the money from these two victims to buy a business in Sunland, California, called Luckey’s Liquor and Deli.

“I have spoken with victims of financial fraud schemes, and can tell you that the emotional and financial pain they endure can be beyond description,” said Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Northwest. “Federal law enforcement will always be there to hold accountable those who would seek to destroy the hopes and dreams of the innocent."

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Darwin Roberts and David Reese Jennings.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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