Anne Arundel restaurateur indicted in plot to frame wife as terrorist, burn business

Phil Davis
Contact Reporterpdavis@capgaznews.com

An Anne Arundel restaurateur plotted to kill his wife, falsely implicate her as a terrorist and burn down his Hanover business, according to a newly unsealed federal indictment.

Khalil Ahmad, 51, of Hanover, faces federal and state charges related to the alleged plot, which prosecutors outlined in an indictment in U.S. District Court in Baltimore unsealed Monday.

Investigators say they have audio and video recordings of Ahmad speaking about the plots with an informant while the FBI and Anne Arundel police monitored meetings at the restaurant, court documents state.

Ahmad “gave Cooperator $5,000 in United States currency over two separate meetings, as a down payment to have (his wife) set up to look like a terrorist,” prosecutors wrote.

The June indictment details a scheme to burn down Allah Rakha, a Pakistani restaurant in Hanover. It and other court documents show that Ahmad was facing severe financial pressures from banks, business partners and customers he owed money.

According to federal court documents, Ahmad conspired with another man to collect on a newly purchased insurance policy on the Hanover restaurant. Prosecutors wrote that the new policy was worth $200,000 more than his previous one.

Federal prosecutors wrote that Ahmad “wanted to set his wife up to make her look like a terrorist” after burning down the restaurant.

A man, who is not identified in the indictment, went to police in May and told them that Ahmad discussed having his wife killed. His wife filed for divorce in April and obtained a protective order against him in May.

“Ahmad also expressed concern that as a result of the divorce, Ahmad’s wife could possibly receive a large amount of money, which could cause financial hardship with Ahmad,” prosecutors wrote. “The plan was to place a ballistic vest, firearm, bottles of alcohol, and extremist jihad writings in her possession, without her knowledge, and then notify law enforcement to have her arrested.”

He was arrested on a federal arrest warrant on Aug. 2, federal court documents show. It was not immediately clear if he remains in custody.

He faces a federal stalking charge as well as five state charges, including conspiracy to commit second-degree arson.

No attorney is listed as representing Ahmad in either the federal or state case. An attorney representing him in a related criminal case on a charge of violating a protective order did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

A woman who answered for Allah Rakha said Ahmad no longer owns the restaurant.

Ahmad made headlines when he opened Maryland’s first Steak n’ Shake in Millersville, with dignitaries from around the state attending an opening ceremony. The business struggled, however, and was sued by creditors last year.

He told The Capital in June 2017 that he’d filed for bankruptcy for the restaurant’s holding company, 8100 Veterans SNS LLC, to keep the restaurant. Bank United National Association sued Ahmad for defaulting on a $3.2 million loan.

A month later, the company that owned the complex where his Allah Rakha restaurant was located — Meir Duke and Hillendale LLC — also sued Ahmad, claiming he was failing to make payments on an installment plan for $535,000 to operate the restaurant. The case has been reopened after a judge ruled Ahmad owed more than $700,000 when accounting for interest and late payments.

The restaurant was owned by One First Group Inc., another of Khalil’s corporations and one of at least three dissolved on Feb. 21, according to online business records. Maryland business records still list the corporation as owner of the location.

The restaurant and its owner had been the subject of a number of contract disputes and lawsuits over the years.

A Lutherville man is suing Ahmad for what he claims is an unresolved $10,000 loan to go toward paying rent for Allah Rakha and a Virginia man is suing the restaurant over an $800 contract for a five-hour wedding anniversary event. He said Khalil tried to cut the event short and had a “surveillance camera in (a) room provided for changing clothes,” he wrote in the complaint.

It was less than three months after Ahmad dissolved those holding companies that his plot to collect the insurance on Allah Rakha began, federal prosecutors said.

He discussed with the informationi how to make the fire look like an accident, prosecutors wrote, showing the informant where the water heater and gas line were in the kitchen. While Ahmad is a citizen, prosecutors say he also asked for a fake passport for himself and another family member.

When police investigators approached Ahmad’s wife with information about his alleged plot, prosecutors wrote that she told investigators “that her husband had previously threatened to kill her and her brother,” who is in Pakistan.

“The victim also told investigators that Ahmad had been physically abusive to her and had recently threatened to light himself on fire after dousing himself with gasoline in her presence,” court documents show.

Police faked an arrest of his wife, prosecutors wrote, and Ahmad moved forward with his plan to burn the business.

Investigators then approached Ahmad at his home under the “ruse” of his wife’s “arrest,” prosecutors wrote.

He told the officers that his wife “would be on the phone at night taking classes about terrorism over the phone” and that she’d attended a “terrorist training camp.”

When they eventually confronted him over his alleged arson plot, prosecutors wrote that he tried to pin it on their informant, but admitted to taking out a larger insurance policy on the Hanover restaurant.

Ahmad was initially arrested on the state charges on June 5, prosecutors wrote, and was released on his own recognizance on June 12. Prosecutors wrote that on June 14, “investigators spent hours attempting to find Ahmad and to re-arrest him on an outstanding warrant out of Howard County for a violation of a protective order” to no avail.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
32°