CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Mar. 19, 2010: A three-member Trinidad-born family have been indicted for stealing $1.75 million in an immigration and real estate fraud scheme, CaribWorldNews has learnt.
Charged in the scheme are Shane Ramsundar, 50; his wife, Gomatee Ramsundar, 46, and their daughter, Shantal Ramsundar, 23, all of 101-35A 120th Street in South Richmond, according to the Queens District Attorney`s office. A spokesman told CWNN that the three migrated to the U.S. in 1996 on amnesty visas.
They are accused of defrauding a total of nineteen members of Queens` West Indian community in Richmond Hill out of more than$1.75 million over a nearly six-year period by promising to assist them in obtaining `federally seized` properties in Florida and Queens at cheap prices or to assist them in gaining legal status in this country.
In carrying out their scheme, the family allegedly held the father out as an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agent on loan to the FBI or JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) and as a devoutly religious
According to the charges, the three Ramsundars held Shane out to be a federal agent – complete with a real-looking gun, a badge and false ID card – and a deeply religious Pandit, who could obtain cheap governmentally seized real estate properties in Florida and the Ozone
Park/Richmond Hill/Jamaica areas of Queens.
In particular, the two elder Ramsundars allegedly claimed that the government allowed their special agents first option to buy the properties seized from tax evaders and drug dealers cheaply prior to their public auction.
Shane Ramsundar then allegedly told his victims that he would purchase properties and obtain mortgages for them with his special government connections and then transfer the deeds over to them and they could live in the residences or re-sell them at great profit.`
Checks were allegedly laundered through eleven different bank accounts – eight belonging to Shantal Ramsundar and three belonging to the family`s race car repair company, Baba Boost Racing, Inc., of Long Island City, of which Shantal Ramsundar is the president and Gomatee Ramsundar is the manager.
In total, the Ramsundars allegedly received a total of more than $1.5 million from ten victims. It is further alleged that in carrying out the immigration portion of their scheme, Shane Ramsundar again posed as an ICE/FBI agent and convinced victims that he could use his insider access to get people green cards, have them removed from deportation lists and even get them off `terrorist watch lists` in exchange for sums of money.
Gomatee Ramsundar allegedly aided her husband by convincing some of the victims that he could obtain the necessary immigration documents and was present when some of the victims turned over their money. Shantal Ramsundar also allegedly aided in the scheme by holding her father out as an ICE agent and by cashing checks and laundering substantial amounts of the proceeds through bank accounts in her name.
In total, the Ramsundars allegedly received more than $250,000 from twelve victims, some of whom were allegedly victimized in the defendants` read estate scheme.
The Ramsundars were arraigned in Queens Supreme Court Thursday on a 34-count indictment variously charging them with the crimes of first- and second-degree grand larceny, first- and second-degree money laundering, first-degree criminal impersonation, first-degree scheme to defraud and unlawful sale or possession of an air pistol.
If convicted, the defendants each face up to 25 years in prison.
`Our immigrant community here in Queens can be especially vulnerable to deception and fraud when someone promises to help them navigate the process of obtaining the necessary documents to work and remain in the United States or to get ahead by dealing in real estate,` commented DA Richard Brown. `In this particular case, many of their immigrant victims are alleged to have implicitly trusted the defendants who were West Indian like themselves, lived in the community and went to area Hindu temples and local neighborhood hangouts. As a result, these victims are alleged to have put their faith and their finances in the hands of the defendants who, in turn, allegedly betrayed them by ripping them off and turning their American Dream into the American Nightmare. They now face an uncertain future.`