Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Two plead guilty to defrauding banks of $2.5 million through fraudulent short sales of gas stations in Youngstown area
A man from Warren, Ohio, and an Indiana man pleaded guilty to defrauding banks out of approximately $2.5 million through fraudulent short sales of gas stations in the Youngstown area and by other means, law enforcement officials said.
Shaukat Sindhu, 56, of Warren, and Tahir Iqbal, 48, of Crown Point, Indiana, are scheduled to be sentenced June 21.
Iqbal pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and three counts of bank fraud. Sindhu pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue Service, and one count of marriage fraud.
“These defendants took advantage of a program designed to help troubled property owners and instead gamed it to enrich themselves,” Acting U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon said. “They will deservedly be trading their mansion for a prison cell.”
“These two defendants have accepted responsibility for structuring real estate transactions that defrauded banks out of millions of dollars and lined their personal pockets,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office. “The FBI will continue to hold fraudsters like these accountable for their criminal actions.”
“Attempting to skirt your income tax obligations by using multiple Social Security numbers, dealing in cash, and concealing income and assets in the names of nominees is a recipe for criminal prosecution,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
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 2014. 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 court documents.
Iqbal also served as a straw buyer for Sindhu for a 16,800-square foot, nine-bedroom, 13-bathroom home in Oak Brook, Illinois. That home will be forfeited as part of the plea agreement.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chelsea Rice, Adam Hollingsworth and James Morford following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.