Man pleads guilty to racketeering
Case on scheme to bribe citizenship officials linked to 2007 Shore raids
By Ben Penserga • Staff Writer • August 11, 2008

BALTIMORE -- A Salisbury man faces 20 years in prison after he tried to bribe state and federal officials to obtain green cards and tax abatements.

Saeed Ahmed, 46, will be sentenced Nov. 5 after he pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court to racketeering conspiracy related to a scheme to bribe officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Maryland Comptroller's Office.

Ahmed's guilty plea is another in an extensive case that culminated in 11 arrests following raids in Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties last fall. To date, 22 defendants have pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme.

On Nov. 2, 2006, Mohammad Ijaz, 43, introduced a police informant to Ahmed. Both Ahmed and Ijaz told the witness that Ahmed had control of the five businesses.

At the end of the meeting, Ahmed asked the cooperating witness if he could obtain two green cards for two of his associates. During the course of the next few weeks, Ahmed gave the cooperating witness two bribe payments totaling $300,000 with the understanding that the monies would be provided to a Maryland state tax official to abate the sales and use taxes for the five businesses. The cooperating witness subsequently provided false letters from the Maryland Comptroller's Office to Ahmed to confirm abatement of the taxes in response to the bribe.

On the night of his arrest on Sept. 19, 2007, Ahmed obtained an ink pad from the cooperating witness, along with some blank immigration forms, and promised to pay $10,000 for those items and for additional blank immigration forms to be used for future acquisition of fraudulent green cards. Ahmed also sought to negotiate with the cooperating witness to increase the amount of the bribes for some of the individuals who accompanied him that night so that Ahmed could make an additional profit off the bribes for himself.

The payments for the bribes were all made to the cooperating witness, who provided the money to federal law enforcement agents.

As part of his plea agreement, Ahmed has agreed to forfeit $500,465.

Mohammad Ijaz, 43, of Snow Hill, pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced June 25 to four years in prison. Mohammad Asif, 33, formerly of Milwaukee, pleaded guilty Friday on similar charges in connection with the case. He will be sentenced in September. ... 10310/1002