Man gets 20 years for fleecing folks in sheriff's sales

Posted: July 24, 2013

A 63-year-old Philadelphia man known alternatively as Amin Rashid or Lawrence Wilson was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Monday for scams that fleeced more than $650,000 from former property owners and families that lost homes in city sheriff's sales.

Rashid, who promised to help people recover their properties or sheriff's sale proceeds through an organization called the Center for Constitutional and Criminal Justice, was convicted of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft more than two years ago.

After a long series of delays due to Rashid's filing unsuccessful posttrial motions, U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe agreed with the 240-month sentence recommended by federal prosecutors, ordered restitution of $782,391, and imposed five years of supervised release.

"After nearly four decades of committing major frauds and serving prison sentences for those crimes, Rashid continues to view himself as above the law," Assistant U.S. Attorney Vineet Gauri, who prosecuted the case, said in a sentencing memorandum.

The government said Rashid came up with the sheriff's sale scam while serving a 14-year sentence for fraud from 1993.

From 2005 to 2008, Rashid took fees and made copies of his clients' driver's licenses, then altered the documents and used other forged documents to claim sheriff's sale proceeds due to other former property owners.

In some cases where sheriff's sale proceeds were earmarked for corporations, Rashid used his own family members to pose as corporate officers and submitted phony corporate resolutions authorizing him to collect the money.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, and Philadelphia police.


Contact Bob Warner at 215-854-5885 or warnerb@phillynews.com.

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