BROOKLYN (CN) - Uncle Sam seized a $7 million building in Brooklyn, claiming it housed an investment scam run by three men who cheated investors of more than $6 million by, among other things, claiming they represented the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and that Gloria Estefan and Roger Staubach worked with them. None of the celebrities were actually involved.
Prosecutors say Alan Labiner, Khurram Tanwir and Ahmed Awan victimized more than 170 people through their four bogus businesses: Manhattan North R.E.I.T., real estate; Next Point USA, consumer credit cards; Grant Boxing, sports equipment; and Exposure Management, which claimed to represent the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea and Seal.
The men told investors that Gloria Estefan and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach served on Exposure Management's advisory board, the complaint states.
The men spent most of the money on themselves, prosecutors say, running up a $36,000 bill at the Pearl Room, a Brooklyn restaurant. They sucked $848,000 out of ATM machines, took more than $2.5 million in other cash withdrawals, spent thousands of dollars on concert tickets, $10,700 at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, $8,000 at Mr. Chow's restaurant, and thousands more at a strip club, and on music CDs and cosmetics.
They kicked back about $1 million to investors to keep the scam going, according to the complaint.
Prosecutors say the parents of one conspirator, Ahmed Awan, owned the property where the schemes took place. Con Ed bills and FedEx records pointed to Awan's ownership in the building, so a district court judge issued a warrant of the property on Sept. 8. The men were arrested after a search of the property turned up incriminating evidence, the complaint states.
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