FBI terrorism investigation leads to tax evasion charges against two California imams that could put one of them in prison for 28 years, the other for five years.
The spiritual leader of Stockton’s largest mosque and his brother, the former spiritual leader, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple tax fraud charges in what apparently began as an anti-terrorism investigation.
Saeed Ur Rahman, 44, faces three counts of tax evasion for allegedly understating his income by a quarter-million dollars during the tax years 2004-2006. Rahman is the imam of the Islamic Center of Stockton.
In a separate indictment, Rahman’s brother Obed Ur Rahman, 57, is charged with tax fraud in what prosecutors described as an elaborate scheme to avoid paying capital gains tax on a Stockton duplex he sold in 2004. Two other men are charged in connection with the duplex transaction, including Obed Ur Rahman’s investment partner.
Obed Ur Rahman faces an additional charge of accepting more than $60,000 in disability payments from the Social Security Administration when, in fact, he was working.
“My client tells me he’s known they’ve been under investigation for two years,” said Bruce Locke, who represents Mohammad Nasir Khan. “Evidently all the FBI could find was a possible tax problem.”
Obed Ur Rahman faces up to 28 years in federal prison if convicted. Saeed Ur Rahman faces up to five years.
Mohammad Nasir Khan faces eight years in prison and Shaker Ahmed faces a sentence of up to five years for their alleged role in the duplex transaction.
The FBI has a long history dating back to Al Capone of using tax laws to send people it doesn’t like to prison, but who it can’t arrest for actual crimes.