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Press Release

Former Dublin Resident Pleads Guilty To Fraud, Money Laundering, Tax Crimes For $10 Million Real Estate Scam

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio
CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer

COLUMBUS -- Haider Zafar, 36, formerly of Dublin, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to multiple wire fraud, money laundering and federal income tax charges relating to his $10 million fraud scheme involving false representations about investments in Pakistani real estate.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office announced the pleas entered today before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr.

Zafar pleaded guilty to 19 counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering, one count of filing a false federal income tax return and three counts of failing to file federal income tax returns.

According to court documents, Zafar, who also resided in south Florida, told the primary victim of his scheme that his uncle was the Minister of Defence of Pakistan and was responsible for acquiring land on behalf of the Pakistani government. Zafar solicited the victim to be his partner in acquiring the land prior to the Pakistani government purchasing it then selling land to the government at a greatly inflated price. Between January 2008 and February 2010, Zafar caused his victim to wire $10,115,000 into accounts Zafar controlled. Zafar used the money to support a lavish lifestyle, including purchases of luxury automobiles and watches.

Zafar reported a taxable income of zero on his 2007 federal income tax return, omitting $221,500 in taxable income. Zafar earned more than $10 million between 2008 and 2010, but did not file income tax returns.

IRS Special Agents arrested Zafar at Port Columbus Airport on May 25. He has been in custody since his arrest.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Zafar will file income tax returns and pay taxes for 2007 through 2010. He also agreed to a forfeiture money judgment of $10,115,000.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  Money laundering is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  Filing a false income tax return with the IRS is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  Willfully failing to file an income tax return with the IRS is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $25,000. Judge Sargus will schedule a date for sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Stewart acknowledged the investigation by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the assistance of the FBI office in Miami, Florida as well as Assistant United States Attorney Dale Williams who is representing the United States in this case.

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Updated July 23, 2015