Local News

A look into the life of limo owner in Schoharie crash

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - More than a decade before the crash that claimed 20 lives in Schoharie, the owner of the limo involved in the tragedy was at the center of a terror trial that rocked the Capital Region.

The man holding a rocket launcher in an FBI photo is Shahed Hussain, the same man whose limo company is at the center of one of the worst crashes in recent U.S. history.

In 2003, the then-Department of Motor Vehicles interpreter agreed to being part of an anti-terrorism sting after being caught accepting bribes at work from immigrants who paid for answers to written DMV exams.

The FBI’s target was an Albany Imam named Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, a naturalized U.S. citizen and pizzeria owner.

Their defense team argued that Aref thought he was witnessing an agreement of a loan from Shahed to Hossain but that Shahed continually steered the conversation to weapons and terror groups.

“This guy lied to his FBI handlers,” Aref’s defense attorney Kathy Manley said. “He would talk to Mohammed Hossain in Urdu and Mohammed would say things like, ‘I’m a good American citizen. I’m not going to violate the law.’ And then Shahed Hussain would go to the FBI and say, ‘Oh, he says he wants to attack America.’ Well, they wouldn’t get the translation for months. So meanwhile, [the FBI] think it’s a great case.”

Aref was acquitted of most of the 30 counts against him, yet he and his codefendant were sentenced to 15 years.

Manley said Shahed’s future was much brighter, but she said she was shocked to learn that he went on to work as a paid informant in at least two more stings in Newburgh and in Pennsylvania.

“They paid him around $100,000 in [the Newburgh] case, and then they kept using him,” she said.

Fast forward to October 6 of this year for the Schoharie crash and then subsequent arrest of Hussain’s son on a charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide for allowing the limo on the road after failing two Department of Transportation inspections.

“All he does is lie and commit fraud and they knew that and they enabled him,” Manley said. “He never would have been able to run this limo company had they not paid him all these hundreds of thousands of dollars and kept him from going to prison for the fraud that he was convicted of at the DMV so this would not have happened had it not been for the FBI enabling this guy.”

The FBI sent NEWS10 the following statement:

As previously stated, while we are aware of the numerous reports out there regarding Mr. Hussain, the FBI does not confirm or deny the identity of our sources. Sources and informants are tremendously important to the bureau and we go to extensive lengths to protect their identities. Additionally, while I cannot speak to the process of how informants are handled specifically, I can say that the FBI's use of undercover operations and informants is done in accordance with strict guidelines and in close coordination with the Department of Justice and the United States Attorney's offices. 

Lee Kindlon, the Hussain family’s attorney, said his client is still in Pakistan. He also sent a statement to NEWS10:

I have a lot of admiration for Kathy; we’ve been friends and colleagues for years. While I may disagree with her assessment on this issue, I respect her zealousness.


More Stories

Meet the Team

  • Tim Lake
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

  • Home for the Holidays
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Adirondack Thunder Hockey Ticket Giveaway
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Coats for Kids
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News - Local

Video Center