A second man has been convicted in connection with a scheme to steal $1.32 million from a contractor who thought he was leveling land for a recycling factory in Manchester.
Izhar H. Syed pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of wire fraud in federal court in London. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Syed was with a Florida company called Waste Not Technologies that enticed local officials with a claim about plans to build a factory in the job-starved community and hire 1,400 people.
Company officials said the Manchester factory would turn household garbage into building materials and other products.
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Officials with the company, including managing member David R. Bennett, hired a Laurel County company called Elza Construction to do excavation work at a site the city bought for the factory.
Bennett and others got Elza to pay $1.32 million to an affiliated company, USA Global Trust, as a guarantee that the company could finish the job.
Bennett and others promised that Elza’s money would be used to prime the pump for other financing and that they would repay the money.
However, Bennett and others siphoned off a big chunk of the money and never gave back the $1.32 million or paid Elza for his excavation work, according to court records.
Syed’s plea deal said he received $140,000. His plea agreement said he deliberately closed his eyes to the obvious existence of the conspiracy to defraud Elza.
The factory was never built.
Elza filed for bankruptcy in May 2011, listing a $1.9 million loan to finance its work on the factory site as one of its largest liabilities.
Bennett pleaded guilty earlier this year. He is to be sentenced in October.
No sentencing date has been scheduled for Syed.
Two others were indicted with Bennett and Syed: Daniel R. Goodwin and Sidney A. Tarrant.
Charges remain pending against Goodwin. Tarrant has not been found, according to court records.