Claim investors lost millions in alleged Ponzi scheme
The man wanted by some of Sydney's underworld is still in hiding but his investors are seemingly closer to finding out where all their money allegedly went - the pokies.
Amin Naaman hasn't been seen since the collapse of his start-up companies caused millions in financial losses to both genuine, hardworking families and the heaviest crims in the Emerald City.
Naaman styled himself as a tech start-up entrepreneur and took investments from half of southwest Sydney with the promise of high returns.
The 35-year-old is believed to be holed up interstate with his wife and child, leaving disgruntled investors to turn on each other.
Now, after his business model suffered its inevitable demise, a liquidator appointed to wind up one of Naaman's businesses, Devtown, says it appeared he was running a Ponzi scheme.
Ponzi schemes are illegal, and involve the instigator using future investors to pay off earlier investors to create the perception of high returns. But when the investors run out, so does the money and the scheme collapses.
After trawling through the company's bank statements, the liquidator also found $419,000 in withdrawals, including payments to the Revesby Workers' Club and Bankstown Sports Club, home to many a pokie machine.
According to liquidators, there are three bank accounts linked to Devtown, two of which are empty and a third that has a balance of $22.
That is not good news for the unsecured creditors who have collectively claimed the company, run by Naaman and his brother Jalal Naaman, owes them more than $5 million.
Two other companies on which the brothers are directors are also in the process of being wound up, with millions of dollars owing to dozens of creditors.
No charges have been laid against either of the brothers.
Those parties are tripping over each other trying to stake a claim in the few assets left, including a Hamptons-style mansion in Cobbity on the outskirts of Sydney.
A company that had a mortgage over the property is seeking a judgment for $3.5 million in the NSW Supreme Court.
There's always a tweet that comes back to haunt you.
Criminal lawyer Adam Houda was so cocksure about an underworld figure's innocence he told the Twittersphere so in 140 characters or less.
"I've known Mahmoud 'Brownie' Ahmad since he was 16. He's no killer!!!" the Sydney solicitor tweeted in 2017.
The supportive post was dragged out of archives on Friday, when Ahmad pleaded guilty to killing Safwan Charbaji during a shootout in Condell Park in 2016.
The shooting sparked a tit-for-tat gangland war involving four fatal shootings.
At the time of Mr Houda's tweet, Ahmad had just returned to Sydney from Lebanon and was charged with murder.
Ahmad, who is the brother of slain gangster Wally Ahmad, pleaded guilty in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday to a charge of manslaughter.
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Originally published as No jackpot for investors who lost millions in alleged Ponzi scheme