Californian man convicted in $ 100 million fraud scheme in Afghanistan | Voice of America


LOS ANGELES – A California man pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a scheme to defraud the Afghan government of more than $ 100 million with a bogus attempt to build an electricity grid, authorities said.

Saed Ismail Amiri, 38, of Granite Bay, pleaded in Los Angeles federal court to one count of wire fraud, the U.S. prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

He faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced in August.

The project involved Amiri’s Afghan firm, Assist Consultants Incorporated, federal prosecutors said.

In 2015 and 2016, Amiri and others attempted to win a US-funded contract to build five power substations in Afghanistan by submitting false work histories and false supporting documents indicating that the company met the requirements of the contract, prosecutors said.

ACI’s offer indicated that it had been a subcontractor of substations to a cement plant in Uganda and a textile company in Nigeria. In fact, ACI had never worked on a substation in Africa, and the two companies mentioned did not exist, prosecutors said.

After Afghanistan’s National Electricity Utility requested more documents to verify ACI’s work history, Amiri sent in more false or altered documents, including photographs, fake bank statements, and an alleged letter from a Ugandan government official, authorities said.

Amiri later withdrew his candidacy for the ACI after meeting with law enforcement at the US embassy in Afghanistan, authorities said.

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