Published: Thu, October 11, 2018

Limo company operator has history as FBI informant

Limo company operator has history as FBI informant

Shahed Hussain, a native of Pakistan and the key witness in a handful of high-profile terrorism stings, is the owner of Prestige Limousine, the company that operated the stretch SUV that on Saturday sped down a hill, swiped two parked cars, and crashed into a ravine, killing the driver, all 17 passengers and two pedestrians, in Schoharie, a town west of Albany, the Times Union reports.

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.

The limo company said in a statement that it "extends its deepest condolences to the family members and friends of those who tragically lost their lives on Saturday", CNN reported.

Hussain emigrated from Pakistan in the early 1990s, fleeing a murder charge that he later said was trumped up, according to news reports.

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.

Additional Mother Jones reports on Hussein describe the scam as one that helped people cheat on DMV tests.

Terence Kindlon once called Hussain a "confidence man" whom he said could not be trusted.

HBO aired a documentary on the case, "The Newburgh Sting", in 2014.


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

"And, perhaps perversely, it's hard not to come away without some degree of admiration for Mr. Hussain, seen and heard only in the grainy videos shot in his auto and living room", said reviewer Mike Hale. "If there were Oscars for informants, he'd be on the red carpet every year".

Prestige Limousine has been criticised for maintaining vehicles rife with violations and for employing a driver lacking a commercial licence.

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.

Three vehicles that he owns have been inspected five times in the last two years, and on four of those occasions the vehicle was ordered out of service as unsafe until repairs could be made, the database showed.

Cuomo said that the limousine involved in the crash had failed a state inspection and should not have been on the road.

In 2004, Hussain was an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant in a case where he befriended Mohammed M. Hossain, a Bangladeshi immigrant and owner of a pizzeria in Albany, N.Y. Hussain, going by the name "Malik", later offered Hossain a $50,000 loan for improvements to his pizzeria and said the money was from the sale of a missile launcher that would be used to kill a Pakistani diplomat.

The accident was the deadliest transportation accident in the United States in nine years.

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