Warren Man Gets 45 Months for Bank Fraud

CLEVELAND — Shaukat Sindhu of Warren was sentenced to 45 months in prison for defrauding banks out of approximately $2.5 million primarily through fraudulent short sales of gas stations in the Youngstown area.

Sindhu, 56, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue Service, and one count of marriage fraud.

“This defendant acted like the rules did not apply to him,” Carole Rendon, acting U.S. attorney, said. “He engaged in multiple fraud schemes, using his friends and family members without regard to the consequences. This sentence should send a message that fraud and deceit will be punished in the Northern District of Ohio.”

Sindhu owned several gas stations and other commercial property, but failed to make mortgage payments on these properties. Sindhu and others defrauded First Midwest and Consumers National banks by making false and misleading representations about ownership of the properties between 2008 and 2014, using a false identity, and creating a fictional Middle Eastern investor that Sindhu used to create the illusion there was an independent buyer for the properties at a significant discount.

Tahir Iqbal of Crown Point, Ind., acted as a straw buyer for Sindhu in a short sale, enriching Sindhu by reducing or eliminating the principle owned on the properties, according to court documents. Iqbal was sentenced to 12 months and one day for his role in the bank fraud conspiracy.

Iqbal also served as a straw buyer for Sindhu for a 16,800-square-foot, nine-bedroom, 13-bathroom home in Oak Brook, Ill. That home was forfeited as part of the plea agreement.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.