A federal grand jury has indicted a New York businessman for his alleged role in a multi-million dollar real estate fraud scheme, among other charges.
Selim Zherka, a resident of Somers, New York, was arrested by federal agents on Thursday and charged with falsifying information to obtain loans totaling more than $146 million from three banks: North Fork Bank (now Capital One), Sovereign Bank (now Santander), and Signature Bank, according to an announcement from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).
According to SIGTARP, Zherka secured the loans for the purchase and refinance of apartment complexes across the country, lying all the while about the purchase prices of the real estate, the amount of the down payments he was making, and his assets, income, and tax returns. He also misrepresented the circumstances of a court judgment made against him in 2000 for assault and breach of contract, the special inspector general's office said.
Zherka also stands accused of scamming the IRS over the course of a decade, submitting fraudulent tax returns that overstated depreciation expenses and understated his capital gains on tax returns for the real estate holding companies for which he was a partner. In addition, the indictment alleges he failed to file personal tax returns with the agency for more than a decade.
Also included in the indictment is a witness tampering charge.
If found guilty of all charges, Zherka could face more than 300 years in prison and tens of millions of dollars in fines. He also faces potential criminal forfeitures and other costs totaling more than $146 million, SIGTARP said.