Thursday, March 4, 2010

South Ozone Park Man Flees from FBI

Sought in $7 Million Mortgage Fraud

By Patricia Adams

The FBI is hunting for a South Ozone Park man they believe is the mastermind of a $7 million mortgage fraud scheme. Ishwandat (Danny) Raghunath, a 46-year-old Guyanese national, fled before agents were able to arrest him at his home last week.

On February 22, agents converged on Raghunath’s residence off Conduit Boulevard in South Ozone Park, but authorities said the suspect had already gone on the lam. He allegedly recruited straw buyers, people who consent to have their names and personal details used by others to obtain mortgages with no intent of ever occupying the homes. These individuals are sometimes offered several thousand dollars for the favor and asked to sign forged documents.

“Buyers” with good credit ratings were allegedly selected to purchase homes in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The indictment goes on to say that the buyers were offered $5,000 for the use of their names along with a promise of investment opportunities without having to make any payments.

After submitting falsified mortgage applications to banks and inflating sale prices of the properties involved, Raghunath took the money from the loans and put it in bank accounts under his control. Mortgage payments were made on the properties for a few months and then cut off, forcing lenders to institute foreclosure action against the buyers.

Co-conspirators Phyllis Seemongal, 49, of Queens, and 40-year-old Halal Ahmed of the Bronx were arraigned and charged with bank and wire fraud.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at (212) 384-5000.

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