YONKERS, N.Y. – The uncle of disgraced former City Councilwoman Sandi Annabi has been accused of impersonating a federal agent in an attempt to swindle thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims, officials said.
Ayman Rabadi, 52, of Yonkers, was arraigned Friday in U.S. District Court in White Plains, a day after he was arrested in front of a city restaurant.
An undercover FBI agent paid Rabadi a total of $10,000 in cash Thursday, which was part of a downpayment toward a $300,000 fee Rabadi had requested in exchange for agreeing to spring a relative from jail, federal investigators said.
“Rabadi’s ability to prey on vulnerable victims by pretending to be a federal agent came to an end today when he tried to extract money from a real federal agent,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Bharara said in a statement.
Rabadi is the uncle of Annabi, a former City Councilwoman who in March was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of conspiracy, extortion and bribery charges. Prosecutors said she accepted more than $200,000 in bribes, money that was used to influence her vote on the City Council.
Prosecutors said Rabadi’s unrelated schemes began in 2010, when he concocted the story that he was a high-ranking agent in the FBI. Using the name Mike Rabadi, his story convinced at least one victim looking for help to hand more than $180,000, prosecutors said.
In January 2012, under the name Michael Quinones, he offered a victim valid identifying documents in exchange for $50,000, court documents said. Later that year, the real FBI began its investigation after Rabadi told another individual about his plans to spring someone from jail.
The FBI investigated Rabadi for several months before Thursday's arrest.
But this isn’t the first time Rabadi used fake credentials in an attempt to obtain money, authorities said. In 2008, he was convicted in New Jersey of a felony count of theft.
There, authorities said Rabadi created the false impression that criminal charges were pending against a victim and that for $75,000, he could use his law enforcement connections to get the charges dismissed.
Rabadi was was held without bail Friday after being arraigned on the charge of impersonating a FBI agent. He is scheduled to appear in court again April 23.
If convicted, Rabadi faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
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