For years, a self-made real estate magnate named Edul Ahmad personified the collective dreams of Richmond Hill, Queens, which is populated by many immigrants from Guyana, in South America. Mr. Ahmad drove a yellow Lamborghini, sponsored a cricket team and held white-glove parties at a lavish banquet hall that he owned. At a prominent intersection near the border of Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park, his smiling face looked down from a large billboard that promoted his real estate services.
Many residents responded, taking out high-risk mortgages that they were told they could readily afford.
In July, it all came crashing down. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Mr. Ahmad, charging him with masterminding a $50 million mortgage fraud that seemed to exemplify a nationwide phenomenon of celebrated immigrant brokers who were accused of preying on their own. ...
Mr. Ahmad, 44, is charged with luring buyers into subprime mortgages, inflating the values of their properties and concealing his involvement by using straw buyers, like his wife and the Guyanese-born captain of the United States cricket team, Steve Massiah.