Wanted! $2,500 Reward For Alleged "Hit Man"

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[Black Star News Investigation]

$2,500 Reward  Offered For ID Of Mysterious Intruder

A Guyanese immigrant businesswoman who continues her two-year battle to win back her multi-million dollar home care businesses believes an intruder who slipped into her apartment building and kicked on her door may have been hired as a "hitman" by business rivals.

"I can't believe they didn't have anything to do with this," Christine Persaud, the businesswoman tells The Black Star News, referring to her business rivals. "The man must have come to kill me. This was a hitman."

The apartment building's monitoring camera captured the image of the intruder who entered Persaud's building in Queens, on February 8. Grainy video recording of the intruder was captured by the building's security monitoring camera.

The recording, reviewed by The Black Star News, shows the intruder, who appears to be a stocky White man, first entering the foyer where he lingers and pretends to search for keys at 8:53:56 PM. When he sees someone approaching from the inside he exits the building, and returns at 8:54:38 and slips into the building when someone opens the inside door to get out.

The intruder spends at least four minutes and 48 seconds in the building and the camera captures him fleeing from the building, slightly dragging his right leg, at 9:00:26.

Subsequently, Persaud went to the 107 precinct, accompanied by her attorney Fred Berg, where she recorded a statement about the incident. Persaud informed the police that she believed the attack was connected to her dispute with Abraham Klein, whom she accuses of gaining control of her businesses through a forged agreement.

Persaud provided police officer Magnoni and chief Weitzman at the 107 precinct with a copy of an earlier Black Star News article detailing the dispute about the businesses.

Klein and his attorney did not return an email message seeking comment. The pair have never returned previous messages seeking comment.

Last year in May, the District Attorney in Queens county disclosed to this newspaper that it was investigating Persaud's case; up to date, the DA's office has not again commented on the case.

Persaud says the February 8 attack occurred the day after one of several hearings she and her attorney have had before Judge Elizabeth Tong in bankruptcy court in Brooklyn. Persaud is locked in battle for her businesses with Klein, who claims they had a partnership agreement --and now controls the businesses founded by Persaud--which Persaud disputes.

On the night of the February 8 attack, Persaud says she was at home with her three children, all of whom are under age four, together with their nanny, when they heard a violent kick against the apartment door. She says the nanny, Jasoda Shiamrag, ran and saw through a peephole the man whose image was captured on the video surveillance camera, fleeing from the scene of Persaud's fifth floor apartment. "Yes, that's the same person," she says, after reviewing the video tape.

Persaud says police responded the same evening and returned days later after the videotape became available. She says even though police viewed the video, they did not ask for a copy and left. "How can they search for the man without taking the video so they could make photographs," Persaud wonders. "I thought the police are meant to protect us. This man could have come to kill me."

Persaud decided to visit the 107 precinct, accompanied by Berg to impress upon the police the danger she believes and to insist on an aggressive investigation.

Persaud says her ordeal started years ago after she had responded to an advertisement in The New York Post in 2007; she had been searching for a financier for payroll funding. Even though her healthcare business, Caring Home Care generated nearly $10 million in annual revenue, mostly from public contracts, her receivables were not timely paid and she needed cash to meet her bi-weekly payroll for nearly 300 employees, she says.

Persaud says Klein provided financing under an arrangement whereby he retained 66% of the profits, which some people have noted was a deal that unfairly favored Klein.

Persaud says things initially went well and the two even started negotiating a partnership agreement. Things began to sour when Klein in late 2008 asked if he could take out a $7 million line of credit on the Caring Home Care business for a venture he had in China, and she refused, Persaud says.

She said the partnership discussion had stalled when Klein insisted, as part of a potential contract, that any future disputes would be arbitrated by a lawyer named Marvin Neiman, who had previously represented Klein. "Why would I agree to have a dispute arbitrated before his own friend?" Persaud has said, in an interview.

Nonetheless, early in 2009, Klein served Persaud with papers, demanding that she appear before Neiman to enforce their "partnership" agreement, even though they had never signed a contract, she says. Samuel Rieff, an attorney who had represented Persaud later filed an affidavit attesting that Persaud had never signed the proposed contract--she says she had rejected signing the contract because of the arbitration clause.

Eugene Levy, a Queens-based attorney hired by Persaud, subsequently objected in writing to Neiman, questioning his impartiality since he had previously represented Klein in another case and saying he was not willing to have him arbitrate the case. In any case, there was no contract signed, making the issue of Neiman being the arbitrator a moot case, Persaud says.

However, on March 19, 2009 Neiman conducted what he later termed an "arbitration" proceeding in his Manhattan office: Persaud and Levy did not attend. Klein attended with his attorney Mendel Zilberberg. Remarkably, even though Klein had sought a 50% stake in Caring Home Care, in his claim, the Neiman "arbitration" exceeded his expectations. On March 31, 2009, Neiman awarded Klein 100% ownership of Caring and $2,172,607.58 in cash.

What's more, Neiman also awarded Klein a 50% stake in Persaud's other unrelated business, Liberty Homecare; Klein had not even filed a claim against that business, records show and Persaud says. At the Neiman "arbitration," records show, Klein produced copies of three separate documents that he claimed constituted their agreement--he contends Persaud agreed that disputes were to be arbitrated before Neiman.

The Black Star News has previously asked Klein, Neiman and Zilberberg if originals of the contract existed; they have not responded to this newspaper's inquiry and request for an interview.

Robert F. Bey, a forensics expert and president of ALR Forensics, in Rockville Center, New York, was hired by Persaud to analyze the copies of what Klein claimed were the agreements.

"These are pretty important documents I must say--all of a sudden all three of them disappear and we just have copies? That's not logical to me," Bey later told The Black Star News. "There are some indications in the questioned signatures that there may be some hesitation. Maybe some slow writing which would be indicative of a forged signature."

After Neiman's favorable award, Klein moved to have it confirmed in State Supreme Court in King's County, where a hearing was scheduled before Judge Arthur M. Schack. Persaud's attorney, Levy, asked Zilberberg to consent to a postponment and also filed papers with Judge Schack showing that he had another court case in Queens on the same date scheduled for the Persaud case. Zilberberg rejected the postponement request. Judge Schack also declined Levy's motion for postponement, ruling that Levy had entered the wrong caption for his conflicting case and the wrong name of the judge presiding over the case.

Records show that Levy did in fact have a matromonial case -- Pena vs. Pena -- before Judge Sidney Strauss on the same date as the Persaud case. So both Persaud and her attorney Levy were not present when Judge Schack confirmed the Neiman award to Klein. Shack later declined a motion to vacate his confirmation. Persaud hired another attorney who has appealed Judge Schack's decision to the appellate division. "How can I lose my multimillion dollar business that I built from scratch without having my day in court?" Persaud says.

The Black Star News also asked Judge Schack in writing whether Klein had ever produced originals of a contract with Persaud and whether Schack would also investigate Persaud's forgery claim. Judge Schack through his law clerk acknowledged receipt of The Black Star News' questions but declined to respond.

Separately, The Black Star News contacted the District Attorney's Office in Queens County and a spokeswoman for DA Robert Brown last year confirmed that Persaud's fraud allegations was under investigation. That was last year in May--the DA has not provided any updates to this newspaper.

Klein gained control of Caring Home Care in 2009 and the millions in revenue as a result of the Neiman award and the Schack confirmation. Klein subsequently started garnishing tens of thousands of dollars in income that she received from her clients at Liberty Home Care, including newly-acquired accounts, Persaud says.

The Neiman ruling had awarded Klein half ownership of Liberty, only until such a time that Persaud satisfied the $2,172,607.58 cash judgement. Persaud claims the cash judgment has been more than satisfied since there was over $2.5 million in Caring Home Care receivables that subsequently went to Klein's control.

"After stealing Caring, he wants to make sure I end up destitute," Persaus says, of Klein. "I am fighting for my businesses and my three children," she adds, referring to her children who are all under age four. "I will not be intimidated by some hired killer sent to my home."

So last year on March 26, Persaud filed for bankruptcy protection.

Zilberberg did not return an e-mail message seeking comment for this article; the email message was copied to Klein and Neiman.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Reward has now been increased to $5,000

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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