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Astoria man pleads guilty to real estate fraud scheme that targeted Queens Bengali community: DA

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March 28, 2023 By Bill Parry

An Astoria businessman is facing two decades in prison after admitting he targeted the Bengali community of Queens in a real estate scam that bilked them out of nearly a million dollars over three years.

Rashidun Bokhari, 57, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday to wire fraud from a purported real estate investment scheme. Bokhari was arrested last October and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen.

According to court filings, between September 2015 and April 2018, Bokhari induced the victim to invest approximately $935,000 in four different real estate properties located in Long Island City and Astoria. Bokhari falsely claimed that in exchange for his investment in the purported real estate transactions, the victim investor would receive a 50% ownership in the properties.

Additionally, Bokhari fabricated real estate transaction documents that he provided to the victim investor, according to court filings. After receiving almost $1 million, Bokhari misappropriated the money for his own personal use, including transferring funds overseas, making mortgage and life insurance payments and withdrawing cash from ATMs.

As part of his plea agreement, Bokhari has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $935,000 to the victim.

The government’s investigation also revealed that between December 20, 2020
and May 2022, Bokhari engaged in a separate scheme to defraud two additional victims in
Queens.

As part of his plea agreement, Bohkari has agreed to pay these two victims restitution
in the amount of $191,100. Each of Bokhari’s victims is of Bengali descent and he exploited their shared ethnic background in furtherance of his schemes.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said anyone who believes they are a victim of a crime committed by Bokhari is asked to contact his office here.

When sentenced, Bokhari faces up to 20 years in prison.

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