Federal Investigation of GBEN Pump-and-Dump Scheme Results in Conviction of Eight Men and Recovery of over $400,000 for Victim Restitution
A man from Warren, Ohio, and an Indiana man were named in 10-count federal indictment for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud banks out of millions of dollars through fraudulent short sales of gas stations in the Youngstown area and other means, law enforcement officials said.
Shaukat Sindhu, 56, of Warren, and Tahir Iqbal, 48, of Crown Point, Indiana, were each indicted on two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, two counts of bank fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution. Sindhu is also charged with one count of corrupt interference with the administration of the IRS and four tax counts.
Sindhu owned several gas stations and other commercial property, but at times failed to make mortgage payments on these properties. Sindhu, Iqbal and others defrauded First Midwest and Consumers National banks by making false and misleading omission and representations about ownership of the properties between 2008 and 2013. Iqbal acted as a straw buyer for Sindhu in a short sale, enriching Sindhu by reducing or eliminating the principle owned on the properties, according to the indictment.
Iqbal also served as a straw buyer for Sindhu for a 16,800-square foot, nine-bedroom home in Oak Park, Illinois, according to the indictment.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Rice following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.