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