Scamming banks and lenders was part of the job for Johar Mirza, the 33-year-old boss of a firm who allegedly tricked banks by submitting false mortgage applications and conning lenders out of $1.5million.
The four year scandal led to an Interpol Red Notice on Johar Mirza – meaning any country who finds Johar Mirza should alert the USA immediately – which led police to Scotland, where Mr. Mirza was caught, according to reports on the Daily Record,
ONE of the FBI’s most wanted men was allowed to walk free after being questioned by police in Scotland, we can reveal.
Two men, including Mirza’s brother Gohar, have already been jailed for their role in the Virginia-based fraud.
We can also reveal that Pakistan-born Mirza has been interviewed by Police Scotland over unrelated allegations.
After being contacted by US prosecutors, Interpol have issued a Red Notice on Mirza – meaning any country finding him should alert the Americans.
This would then allow the US authorities to request his arrest or extradition. We can reveal Mirza has been living at an address in Pollokshaws since 2010. He even enrolled in a law course at Strathclyde University.
When confronted by the Sunday Mail, he stated: “I’m not in a position to go into any details because it could adversely affect me.”
US legal documents allege that Mirza was the president of E-Star Lending, a firm of mortgage brokers at the centre of a fraud case in Burke, Virginia in 2010.
He and two others, Pervaiz Arshad and Johnny Cruz, were accused of recruiting people to submit false mortgage applications.
Johar Mirza allegedly provided false bank statements and set up bogus companies who claimed to employ the applicants in a bid to secure loans. It is claimed the money earned from the dodgy deals was divided between the gang once the cash had been transferred into a bank account. The “buyers” then defaulted on the mortgages, leaving the lenders out of pocket.
Mirza’s brother Gohar was jailed for five years after he pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scam in 2008. Arshad initially fled to Pakistan but was arrested on a flight to Washington and jailed for four years in 2012 for his part in the mortgage scam. He admitted obtaining dodgy mortgages for nine homes and trying to obtain a false passport for a co-conspirator.
Mirza’s mugshot on the Interpol website says he’s wanted in connection with five fraud charges.
And an indictment from the US District Court, from October 28, 2010, states that he “did knowingly and unlawfully conspire and agree with others to commit offences against the United States” between 2005 and 2008.
When he arrived in Scotland, Mirza took over the running of Lima Properties Ltd in September 2010. He took on the roles of director and financial analyst but the firm has since dissolved. Mirza also enrolled on Strathclyde University’s two-year Clinical Law LLB course and was a volunteer at the Strathclyde Law Clinic where he assisted members of the public.
Fellow students and staff were told his name was Jacob and that he was from the USA. One fellow student said: “There are only around 20 students on the course and we’re all in the same classes. “In class, he was always asking questions about fraud scenarios and deportation. Now I know why.
“It’s hard to believe that someone who’s wanted in the United States and being hunted by Interpol could live such a normal life here.” Mirza told us he was the victim of mistaken identity. He said: “This alleged Interpol thing is bogus and they may even have the wrong identity of the person. “There’s a difference between accusation and conviction. The story goes that I somehow hopped a plane and ran off somewhere. None of this is true.”
And he defended his right to study law adding: “As far as Strathclyde Uni is concerned, Tommy Sheridan has a conviction and he’s in law school. “Even if you have a conviction, the European Convention on Human Rights states you have a right to an education.”
A clerk at the US District Court Eastern District of Virginia, said: “Johar Mirza was indicted on October 28, 2010. He is charged, pending arrest. “When he is arrested, the court process will begin.”
And a spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office said: “We generally do not comment on matters related to extradition unless and until the individual is on US soil.”
Police Scotland said they were aware of the Red Notice which has been issued for Mirza. They added: “It would be inappropriate to comment further.”
The US Attorney’s Office confirmed a Red Notice is “the closest intrument to an international arrest warrant in use today.” The alerts, issued via Interpol, inform authorities that a suspect is either wanted for prosecution or to serve a prison sentence.
Strathclyde University declined to comment about Mirza but a source at the university admitted: “We are aware of the Interpol page.”
Mirza is the latest international fugitive to be tracked down by the Sunday Mail.
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Source & Photo Credits: Daily Record