Sultana Siddiqui, a/k/a Sultana Ahmad, 56, North Potomac, Maryland, was sentenced to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud arising from an investment fraud scheme.
Siddiqui was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang who also entered an order requiring Siddiqui to forfeit $405,000, and pay restitution of $402,800, the loss resulting from the scheme minus $2,200 in “lulling payments” paid to two of the victims in order to prevent them from going to authorities. Judge Chuang ordered that Siddiqui be immediately taken into custody after finding that she violated the conditions of her pretrial release by visiting the victims over the weekend before sentencing.
According to her guilty plea, Siddiqui was a mortgage broker who falsely represented to individual victims that co-conspirator Alexander Matthews , 50, Dunn Loring, Virginia, was an investor or developer who could secure substantial returns on the victims’ investments in a short time period. Siddiqui solicited investments from each of the victims, vouched for Matthews’s trustworthiness and business acumen, and received money from the victims. She deposited most of the money from the victims into her personal bank account. Then she and/or Matthews provided each victim with a post-dated check in the amount of the victim’s investment plus the promised return. None of the post-dated checks were negotiable on the promised return date. After the victims discovered that the post-dated checks were not negotiable, Siddiqui and/or Matthews sent lulling payments and/or email communications to the victims.
For example, in 2008, a real estate agent and her husband agreed to invest $300,000, drawn on their home equity line of credit, to renovate a home in Clifton, Virginia, which Siddiqui and Matthews claimed was to be leased by the FBI. Siddiqui, however, deposited the money in her personal bank account, and no lease agreement existed with the FBI. Siddiqui and Matthews used the money for their own benefit, providing only a small number of lulling payments to the victims.
In November 2010, at Siddiqui’s urging, another victim agreed to invest $50,000 with Matthews and give Siddiqui a $5,000 personal loan. In return, Siddiqui gave the victim a promissory note for the investment signed by Matthews, and two post-dated checks: one for $6,000 from a bank account held by Siddiqui; and one for $60,000 from an account held by Matthews. When the victim attempted to cash the checks, a bank official told her they were not negotiable. Siddiqui sent several lulling emails to the victim, claiming that she would be repaid, but the victim has not received any payment.
Siddiqui and Matthews defrauded the victims of approximately $355,000.
Siddiqui admitted to defrauding another individual of $50,000 in a transaction in 2014.
Matthews pled guilty in 2011 in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia to his participation in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Rene Febles of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General, and Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray D. McKenzie, who prosecuted the case.