Ex-Taxi driver charged in $30M Ponzi scheme targeting Muslims

A taxi driver turned prominent businessman in Chicago’s South Asian community is among three people indicted for defrauding hundreds of Muslim investors out of $30 million, in part by promising that investments complied with Islamic law, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Salman Ibrahim, 37, who vanished in 2008 after allegedly persuading hundreds of Pakistani and Indian immigrants to contribute their savings and mortgage their homes to finance real estate deals, is believed to be abroad, possibly in his native Pakistan, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said.

Two other men indicted were Mohammad Akbar Zahid, 59, who investigators believe also fled the U.S., and Amjed Mahmood, 47, of Des Plains, a Chicago suburb. Mahmood, who isn’t related to Fazal Mahmood, has not been arrested but is expected to be arraigned soon, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Randall Samborn said.
One alleged victim, Fazal Mahmood, said he lost more than $200,000, some of which he intended to use to put his two daughters through college.