Company operator of death-crash limo was paid FBI informant

One of the

Hussain's path to becoming an informant began after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when he was arrested in an FBI fraud investigation in Albany that targeted a ring of corrupt translators, state motor vehicle workers and almost 100 immigrants who had illegally obtained driver's licenses with help from Hussain.

Moreover, the driver, Scott Lisinicchia, 53, "did not have the appropriate driver's license to be operating that vehicle", Cuomo said on Monday as authorities stepped up the probe to find out what caused the tragedy.

The day-to-day operation of the company is overseen by Hussain's son, according to the paper, and police said that the former informant is now out of the country.

According to WRGB, Malik Shahed Hussain, the owner of Prestige Limousine, had been previously arrested for helping immigrants fraudulently obtain drivers licenses in New York State. State police are also looking into that.

When Hussain was sentenced in 2006 for the DMV scam, a federal judge spared him additional prison time after prosecutors argued he had provided "substantial assistance" in the Albany terrorism sting as well as a drug and fraud case in which 12 defendants were convicted.

He was reportedly caught helping DMV test takers cheat and, facing deportation, became an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant, wearing a wire to catch others involved in the fraud. Aref was recently released, but remains in immigration detention pending his deportation to Iraq, according to the Times Union.

The attorneys for Aref and Mohammed Hossain, Terence L. Kindlon and Kevin Luibrand, respectively, had harsh words for the informant who helped convict their clients.

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Hussain's listed address is the same as in bankruptcy records for the Shahed Hussain who testified in Manhattan federal court at the 2010 trial of four men he recruited into an FBI sting operation after infiltrating a mosque in Newburgh.

Despite being exposed, Hussain never left the area, according to the Times Union. He said the men were "too obvious" and requested receipts even for small items they purchased like coffee and doughnuts.

The four men were impoverished and had no links to global terrorist organizations.

In more recent years, he was the owner of a low-budget motel, the Crest Inn Suites and Cottages, outside Saratoga Springs.

Cornett, the motel's manager, said they occasionally receive mail there related to the limo company, but that Hussain kept the vehicles at another location. Town officials asked that he keep the vehicles in Latham, where they had previously been stored when not in use.

In his own testimony at the trial, Hussain said he first entered the United States in Texas with his wife and two sons in the 1990s and later went to Albany, the New York State capital, where he received asylum.

Official records cited by news reports also show Prestige Limousines, the company that owns the limo, has been cited for 22 violations in the last 24 months, CBS News reported. The national average is 20 percent.

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