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A Richmond Hill man, wife and daughter have been sentenced to prison in the defrauding of fellow immigrants in what District Attorney Richard Brown said was about “a family who threw away their future to satisfy greed.”
Shane Ramsundar, 52, of 101-35A 120th St., who posed as a federal agent, was sentenced to 78 years to 235 years in prison and ordered to make $1.8 million in restitution. His wife, Gomatee Ramsundar, 48, was sentenced to 51 years to 153 years and fined $221,090. Their daughter, Shantal Ramsundar, 24, got 10 years to 30 years and was fined $182,180.
“This family deviously took advantage of their fellow immigrants as they sought the American Dream,” said Brown. “The damage caused by the defendants was severe and long-lasting — in some instances, they plundered the life savings of people who placed their trust in them.”
The DA’s office said the Trinidadian family victimized 19 people, most of them members of the Queens West Indian community, by defrauding them of $1.8 million over a nearly six-year period. They were convicted in Queens Criminal Court in November after a nearly three-month trial.
Prosecutors said the victims were to led to believe that Shane Ramsundar was a U.S. Customs and Immigration agent and a devoutly religious pandit, an Indian term to honor a wise and learned person.
According to testimony at their trial, Shane Ramsundar carried a realistic-looking firearm, a badge and false ID card and represented himself as someone who could get cheap, government-seized real estate properties in Florida and the Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Jamaica areas of Queens.
In the scam, Shane Ramsundar and his wife claimed the government gave the special agent first option to buy the properties seized from tax evaders and drug dealers cheaply prior to their public auction.
Based on testimony, Shane Ramsundar told his victims he would purchase the properties and obtain mortgages for them with his special government connections, then transfer the deeds over to them, Brown said. He would then allow them to live in the homes or resell them at greater profit.
Prosecutors said Ramsundar also convinced his victims that he could use his insider access to get people green cards, have them removed from deportation lists and even get them off “terrorist lists” in exchange for money.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 718-260-4536.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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