Plea deal in Ohio fraud case linked to Miami Heat
A former Ohio man accused of operating multimillion-dollar
frauds that include allegations he cheated Miami Heat basketball
players of millions of dollars indicated Tuesday that he’ll plead
guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion charges.
A 135-count indictment filed this year describes a scheme under
which Haider Zafar allegedly swindled a Washington, D.C.,
businessman out of $10 million between 2008 and 2010.
A witness who testified against Zafar in August alleged Zafar
also defrauded Heat players, including former forward Mike Miller.
The witness, international investment attorney Andrew Fine, said
the players and other Florida residents invested $8 million with
The players weren’t mentioned in the criminal complaint, but
Zafar’s plea deal includes his willingness to resolve a possible
federal investigation in Florida. Zafar wants to tie up all loose
ends in the cases against him, Zafar’s attorney, Sam Shamansky,
In documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Columbus, Zafar
agreed to plead guilty to 30 counts and to forfeit $10 million. The
U.S. attorney’s office in Columbus declined to comment. No date was
scheduled for a judge to accept Zafar’s guilty plea.
A criminal complaint said Zafar, a Pakistan native and legal
U.S. resident, used questionable documents to solicit the funds
from businessman Patwinder Sidhu for real estate ventures in
The complaint accused Zafar, 36, of telling Sidhu that his uncle
was Pakistan’s defense minister and was responsible for buying
property for that country’s government. It says Zafar told Sidhu
they could buy land in Pakistan and later sell it to the government
for a profit.
The Heat has said it remains in contact with the authorities
handling the investigation.
Prosecutors allege Zafar used his investor’s money to fuel an
opulent life. The indictment mentions purchases of several luxury
cars, including a 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom convertible, diamonds
and watches, among other items.