Former Owner of Marble Mining Company in Afghanistan Convicted for Defrauding U.S. government Agency and Defaulting on a $15.8 Million Loan
The former owner of a now-defunct marble mining company in Afghanistan was found guilty today by a federal jury for his role in defrauding the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a U.S. government agency, and defaulting on a $15.8 million loan.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
After a seven-day trial, Azam Doost, aka “Adam Doost,” “Mohammad Azam Doost” and “Mohammad Azim” (Doost), 40, most recently of Freemont, California, was found guilty of three counts of major fraud against the United States, eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of false statements on loan applications or extensions and five counts of money laundering. Doost is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 14 by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia, who presided over the trial.
The evidence admitted at trial showed that in February 2010, while working at his company, Equity Capital Mining LLC, Doost, along with his brother, obtained a $15.8 million loan from OPIC for the development, maintenance and operation of a marble mine in western Afghanistan. The loan proceeds were paid directly from OPIC to the alleged vendors who provided equipment for the mine, as reported to OPIC by Doost or his consultant. Doost was required to deal with these companies in arms-length transactions or, to the extent any transactions were other than at arms-length, he was required to report to OPIC any affiliation he had with a vendor. Instead, Doost falsely informed OPIC that he had no affiliation with any of the vendors with whom he dealt, when in fact he had financial relationships with several of them. The evidence further showed that Doost’s business partner was listed on the bank accounts for a number of these vendors and, upon receipt of money from OPIC into the respective accounts, significant amounts of this money were then transferred from that respective account to companies and individuals with whom Doost was associated, or to pay debts Doost owed. For example, Doost’s consultant received a commission of $444,000 for his purported consulting services with the first of three disbursements from OPIC, yet $40,000 was transferred from the consultant’s account to a Doost company in California.
The evidence at trial further showed that when the time came for Equity Capital Mining LLC to repay the loan to OPIC, Doost provided purported reasons to OPIC why it was not able to make those repayments at a time when Doost had control of sufficient funds to make those repayments. Ultimately, Doost and his brother failed to repay any of the principal on the OPIC loan, paying only a limited amount of interest, and ultimately defaulted on the loan, the evidence showed.
SIGAR, with assistance from the FBI, investigated the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided important assistance in this case. Trial Attorneys Daniel Butler and Michael McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.