US Attorney – Eight Charged Over Stolen Car Conspiracy – Legal Announcements From LawFuel

LawFuel – Law Announcements – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, KYLE A. HUTCHINS, the Special-
Agent-in-Charge of the Newark, New Jersey, Field Office of the
Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (“ICE”), and ROBERT E. PEREZ, the Director of Field
Operations, New York Field Office, U.S. Customs and Border
Protection (“CBP”), today announced the unsealing of charges
against eight individuals for their participation in a conspiracy
to smuggle stolen cars to Sierra Leone through a shipping company
in Sayerville, New Jersey, (the “Shipping Company”). According
to the Indictment unsealed earlier today in Manhattan federal
court:

From at least April 2008 through September 17, 2008,
MOHAMED FORNAH, UMU KAMARA, MUHAMMAD MUSTAPHA, SAHID KABIA,
CHERNOR BAH, FATMATA BARRIE, MELVIN LEWIS, and ERIC HAYNES
engaged in a scheme to steal cars from various locations in the
United States, and then transport those stolen cars to Freetown,
Sierra Leone. The defendants and others stole cars from
individuals and car dealerships in New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., including luxury cars
stolen from car dealerships and at least one car stolen at
gunpoint in Washington, D.C. The stolen cars were then
transported through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to the Shipping
Company, ultimately for shipment to Sierra Leone through the Port
of Newark. In an effort to conceal that the cars were stolen,
the defendants presented false and fraudulent title information
to the Shipping Company.

The defendants are each charged with conspiracy to
receive and transport stolen cars in interstate and foreign
commerce. In addition, defendants FORNAH, KABIA, KAMARA, LEWIS,
BAH, and HAYNES are charged with substantive counts of
transporting stolen cars in interstate and foreign commerce. If
convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in
prison on the conspiracy count, and ten years in prison on each
of the substantive counts of transporting stolen cars.
KABIA is expected to be presented in Manhattan federal
court before United States Magistrate Judge DEBRA FREEMAN later
today, and MUSTAPHA and BAH are expected to appear in Manhattan
federal court tomorrow morning. FORNAH, BARRIE, HAYNES, and
KAMARA were presented in the districts in which they were
arrested — FORNAH, BARRIE, and HAYNES in the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania, and KAMARA in the District of Delaware. The
defendants, including LEWIS, who is currently detained in
Philadelphia on unrelated charges, are expected to appear in the
Southern District of New York on September 30, 2008, before
United States District Judge GEORGE B. DANIELS.

FORNAH, 22, resides in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

KAMARA, 38, resides in Newark, Delaware. MUSTAPHA, 37, and
LEWIS, 52, reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. KABIA, 35,
resides in Morristown, New Jersey. BAH, 40, and BARRIE, 34,
reside in Glenolden, Pennsylvania. HAYNES, 31, resides in Darby,
Pennsylvania.

Mr. GARCIA praised the work of ICE and CBP in this
investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by the Major Crimes
Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United
States Attorney SEETHA RAMACHANDRAN is in charge of the
prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely
accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
08-235 ###

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