Trail dif­fi­cult to un­ravel

Ten­dency to dis­ap­pear, com­plex busi­ness deals part of the mys­tery of limo firm’s owner

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By larry ruli­son Colonie

Mo­tel owner. Un­der­cover FBI in­for­mant. Sib­ling to a fab­u­lously wealthy Pak­istani real es­tate mogul. Loudonville res­i­dent whose home some­how man­aged to in­crease in value after nearly burn­ing to the ground. And now: pro­pri­etor of a Saratoga County limou­sine com­pany at the cen­ter of the na­tion’s worst trans­porta­tion dis­as­ter in al­most a decade. Who is Sha­hed Hus­sain, re­ally? Less than a month after the Oct. 6 Schoharie County crash that killed 20 peo­ple, the owner of the Wil­ton­based Pres­tige Limou­sine re­mains a very hard man to pin down.

And it’s even harder to un­der­stand the com­plex web of busi­ness and real es­tate deals that have sus­tained him for decades and have al­lowed him to travel fre­quently be­tween the United States, Europe, the Mid­dle East and Asia de­spite the claim that he lacks his own bank ac­count.

One trans­ac­tion in par­tic­u­lar,

The fol­low­ing is a time line of Sha­hed Hus­sain’s adult life based on his own court tes­ti­mony in crim­i­nal and civil cases.

■ 1994: After leav­ing Pak­istan with his fam­ily — his wife Yas­meen Begum and their young sons — Sha­hed Hus­sain ar­rives in Al­bany, and even­tu­ally op­er­ates his own gas sta­tions. He will later claim he left Pak­istan due to po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.

■ 1998: Buys his­toric home at 456 Loudon Road in Loudonville for $90,000.

■ Jan. 3, 2002:

Hus­sain is ar­rested in an FBI sting for try­ing to ob­tain fal­si­fied ID at DMV of­fice on South Pearl Street. He later agrees to be­come an in­for­mant.

■ April 2003: Hus­sain pleads guilty to a felony charge re­lated to his DMV ar­rest and starts work­ing as in­for­mant in an Al­bany anti-ter­ror­ism case.

■ Au­gust 2003: Hus­sain files for Chap­ter 13 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion.

■ Oct. 15, 2003: The fam­ily’s Loudonville home is nearly de­stroyed in a fire. Hus­sain’s wife suf­fers mi­nor burns when she tried to es­cape down an in­te­rior stair­case and was forced to kick out a se­cond-floor bath­room win­dow and jump to safety. She died in 2013; no cause of death is listed in pub­lic records.

■ Au­gust 2004: The FBI ar­rests Yassin Muhid­din Aref and Mo­hammed Moshar­ref Hos­sain, the tar­gets of its Al­bany anti-ter­ror­ism sting. The FBI pays to re­lo­cate Hus­sain and his fam­ily to Ten­nessee.

■ July 2006: Hus­sain and wife sell their Loudonville home for $450,000 after re­turn­ing from Ten­nessee.

■ Au­gust 2006: Hus­sain buys the Hide­away Mo­tel in Saratoga County for $650,000. The Hide­away Ho­tel is later re­named the Crest Inn.

■ 2008: Hus­sain be­gins work for the FBI on an­other anti-ter­ror­ism sting that would be known as the “New­burgh Four” case. Ar­rests take place in 2009, and the de­fen­dants are sen­tenced in 2011.

■ 2012: Hus­sain files pa­per­work with Saratoga County es­tab­lish­ing Pres­tige Limou­sine and Chauf­fer Ser­vice.

■ 2016: Pres­tige Limou­sine buys a stretch 2001 Ford Ex­cur­sion, ac­cord­ing to a car his­tory re­port.

■ 2018: Hus­sain trav­els to Pak­istan, osten­si­bly to seek med­i­cal treat­ment.

■ March 2018: The state De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion does its first in­spec­tion of Pres­tige’s ve­hi­cles in March. The brakes in the Ex­cur­sion fail, and it is or­dered off the road.

■ Oct. 6, 2018: The 2001 Ex­cur­sion bar­rels through a stop sign and plunges into a ditch on the far side of the Ap­ple Bar­rel Coun­try Store. The crash kills the driver, all 17 pas­sen­gers and two by­standers in the store’s park­ing lot.

■ Oct. 10, 2018: Hus­sain’s 28-year-old son Nau­man, al­legedly the op­er­a­tor of Pres­tige, is charged with crim­i­nally neg­li­gent homi­cide.

Photo credit

Above, a 2009 photo from a real es­tate list­ing of the for­mer Loudonville home of Sha­hed Hus­sain, then an FBI in­for­mant. The orig­i­nal home was badly dam­aged in a 2003 fire and par­tially re­built, though it never passed in­spec­tion for a cer­tifi­cate of oc­cu­pancy. The cur­rent own­ers razed it in 2010 and the lot re­mains va­cant. At right, photos in­cluded in Colonie’s files on the home and ef­forts to get it re­built.


John Carl d’an­ni­bale / times union

Sha­hed Hus­sain used to op­er­ate this mini mart next to a state dmv build­ing where he was ar­rested in a sting for try­ing to ob­tain false ids.

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