YONKERS, N.Y. – The uncle of disgraced former City Councilwoman Sandi Annabi faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud.
Ayman Rabadi, 52, of Yonkers, made his guilty plea Tuesday inside U.S. District Court in White Plains.
The plea stems from an April arrest in which Rabadi was accused of impersonating a federal agent in an attempt to swindle thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims, federal prosecutors said.
He was originally charged with impersonation of a federal agent. The wire fraud charges, which carry a much stiffer sentence, were later added.
“Ayman Rabadi is a serial offender who has a track record of impersonating law enforcement officials for the purpose of preying on susceptible victims and stealing their money in exchange for empty promises,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "He will now be held to account for his crimes.”
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 with immigration matters to hand over more than $180,000, prosecutors said.
In January 2012, under the name Michael Quinones, he offered another victim valid identifying documents in exchange for $50,000, court documents said. Later that year, the real FBI began its investigation into Rabadi after catching wind of his schemes.
Rabadi was arrested on April 18 outside a Yonkers restaurant after he accepted a $10,000 payment from an undercover FBI agent, prosecutors said. The money was part of a down payment toward a $300,000 fee Rabadi had requested in exchange for agreeing to spring an individual from jail, federal investigators said.
But this wasn’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.
As a result of Tuesday’s guilty plea, Rabadi will be sentenced on Sept. 10 where he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine as high as $380,000.
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