CLEVELAND (AP/WANE) — A businessman who orchestrated a $180 million check-kiting scheme and used the proceeds to live a lavish lifestyle and amass one of the world’s most revered classic car collections has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.
Najeeb Khan, 70, of Edwardsburg, Michigan, told a federal judge Thursday that he was “blinded by greed” to carry out the scheme and buy more than 250 cars, as well as airplanes, boats and a helicopter. Besides receiving a 97-month sentence, he must pay $121 million in restitution to Cleveland-based KeyBank, $27 million to clients and $9.8 million in back taxes.
His actions had financial implications locally for Lake City Bank and Turnstone.
Authorities have said Khan carried out the fraud from 2011-2019 while growing his payroll processing business in Elkhart, Indiana. He funneled dozens, sometimes hundreds, of checks and wire transfers with insufficient funds through three banks, artificially inflating the amount in his accounts. He siphoned off about $73 million for himself.
He used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included expensive vacations, mansions in Arizona and Michigan and properties in Florida and Montana, as well as planes and yachts. His massive car collection included pristine vintage Ferraris, Fiats and Jaguars.
Khan had plead guilty to bank fraud and attempted tax evasion. His attorneys said he had helped his victims recover some funds, in part by selling off his car collection that fetched about $40 million at auction.
Prosecutors said that when Khan’s scheme collapsed, about 1,700 of his clients lost out on money Khan’s company had withdrawn for payroll taxes. Theos companies included small- and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits and charities, including the Boy Scouts of America and four Catholic dioceses.
Some victims had to pay the IRS or their employees out of their own pockets or take out lines of credit, prosecutors said. Others laid off employees.