Brighton Beach Landlord Among 8 Indicted For Fraud

A Brighton Beach landlord was apparently rolling in legal money, but was still taking in more than $145,000 in government benefits according to authorities.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced charges this morning against eight individuals across the borough for defrauding the government of more than $500,000 in welfare an other benefits.

Among the worst alleged offenders is 55-year-old Mohammed Irshad Chaudrhry, who Hynes’ office said fraudulently collected $146,887.41 in Medicaid benefits between 2004 and November 2011.

According to the indictment, Chaudrhry claimed to work at Super Punjab Auto Repair in Long Island City, earning between $300 and $350 a week. But authorities say the alleged fraudster was netting between $15,000 and $19,000 a month from legal investments including:

  • $2,950 each month in rent from an investment home his wife and son owned at Brighton 8th Street
  • $8,000 each month from the above mentioned auto shop and a TriBeCa tea shop, both of which he owns
  • between $4,000 and $8,000 a month from a taxi cab and medallion he owns

Chaudrhry failed to disclose that he derived income from these businesses, as well as a Citgo gas station in Elmsford and Pak Sweets House in Midwood.

The indictment also states that Chaudrhry enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, making purchases at Brooks Brothers and donating $10,000 to the Pakistani American Merchants Association.

Chaudrhry is charged with welfare fraud in the second degree, grand larceny in the second degree and 12 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

In five separate indictments, DA Hynes made similar allegations against Oksana Bourukhova, Nuray and Yuksel Zivali, Anna Fan, Unise Key, and Mehtab and Sarfaraz Qureshi.

From the DA’s press release:

In a separate indictment, Oksana Bourukhova, 33, is charged with illegally collecting $39,310 in food stamps and $59,993 from Medicaid, totaling $99,303 between March 1, 2003 and December 31, 2010. According to the indictment, she applied for benefits under her maiden name and falsely claimed that she is a single mother of her three children when in fact she has been living with the employed father of those three children who actually worked in a Medicaid office, Health Plus, since 2003.
Bourukhova is charged with Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and eight counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree.  If convicted of the top charge, she faces up to 15 years in prison.
The third indictment charges husband and wife, Nuray Zivali, 37, and Yuksel Zivali, 42, with applying for and receiving Brooklyn-based Medicaid benefits, totaling over $50,000.  The couple lived in West Babylon, Long Island at the time they applied for the benefits.  They fraudulently listed the address of Brooklyn family members on the paperwork.  Charges include Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and five counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree.  If convicted of the top count, the defendants each face up to15 years in prison.
In the fourth indictment, Anna Fan, 36, received $8,077 in Medicaid benefits for herself and her three children from December 18, 2008 to December 31, 2009.  According to the indictment, she failed to disclose on her Medicaid applications and recertification forms that she owned a commercial rental property in New Jersey.  Records show that Fan regularly pays $2,700 a month, in cash mortgage payments on that property.  She is charged with Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and if convicted, faces seven years in prison for the top count.
The fifth indictment charges Unise Key, 43, with concealing her employment as an MTA conductor in order to receive $6,210 in food stamp assistance from April 1, 2009 to December 1, 2010.  She claimed on HRA applications that the only income she received as a single mother was $813.50 a month in disability payments however she was receiving salary and employed by the MTA.
The defendant also allegedly underreported her income to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to receive federal Section 8 housing assistance subsidies.  From September 1, 2001 to September 1, 2010, Unise Key fraudulently collected $48,087 in Section 8 housing assistance.
… Charges against Key include Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, and Issuing a False Financial Statement.  If convicted of the top count, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, the defendant faces a maximum of seven years in prison.
The final indictment alleges that Mehtab Qureshi, 43, and Sarfaraz Qureshi, 58, are the owners and landlords of six properties located in Brooklyn and upstate New York and that Sarfaraz Qureshi is the President and Chairman of Discount Contracting Corp.
In 2006 they applied for and received Medicaid benefits by lying on their application.  They failed to disclose that they owned the properties and Mr. Qureshi claimed to be an employee at the corporation of which he was President and Chairman.   This continued through 2012.  Over six years the Qureshis stole $168,502 in benefits, the indictment charges.
The charges include Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and five counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted of the top count, they each face 15 years in prison.

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