Michelle Carter, who won a $4 million settlement after she lost both legs when she was struck by a subway train, was robbed of the money by five heartless men in her neighborhood.
“Her windfall, unfortunately, became the target of alleged scammers,” Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown told the Queens Daily Eagle. “This kind of underhanded con is unacceptable and the defendants will be held accountable for these alleged crimes.”
The men swindled her out of at least $1.5 million of that settlement. Carter who entrusted Ammar Awawdeh, a 27-year-old who co-owned a deli on Roosevelt Island with his father, Yaser Awawdeh, age 58, to oversee her money as the woman had no bank account and is mentally disabled, according to the New York Daily News. The younger Awawdeh was supposed to use the initial $799,000 that was given to him as a way to pay her tab for deli sandwiches she would purchase to eat. She also bought cartons of cigarettes to resell in the street.
According to the prosecutors office in Queens, Yaser squandered Carter’s money to fund his lavish wedding, a honeymoon in Turks and Caicos, a bachelor party in Las Vegas along with various gambling trips.
The older Awawdeh, allegedly, used some of the stolen money to put a down payment on a new car and write checks to several other businesses, including a wholesale jeweler.
While the details are sketchy, Carter’s Bible was also stolen with her last check of $886,000 by the bandits and they schemed with Anas Ali, 32, a Chase bank manager from Staten Island, who deposited the check into the account of another bodega owner in Queens, 30-year-old Brooklyn resident Salah Omairat.
Ali was given a cut of the money to break the law. as well — $20,000 to be exact.
Carter, immediately, reported the stolen check to a police officer at Penn Station.
Ammar Awawdeh told prosecutors he was instructed to use the money by an unidentified “friend” of Carter. “Michelle was OK with it,” he claimed.
He admitted to taking some of the money for himself stating; “I was 23 years old with plans to get married in a few weeks with no money.”
If he is found guilty of the crime, he faces up to 25 years in prison. He has been arrested and is in jail as of Thursday night with $100,000 bail.
The other suspects were released on varying bail amounts after arraignments on Wednesday. Carter has given the majority of the settlement away or spent the rest of it according to her attorney, Robert Unger.