Limo owner in deadly upstate crash has ‘Bronx connection’

Friends of victims who died in Saturday’s fatal limousine crash comfort each other after placing flowers at the intersection in Schoharie.
AP Photo/Hans Pennink

The man who owns the limo company that was involved in a massive fatal crash in upstate New York worked in an FBI sting operation that targeted Bronx synagogues.

The owner of the derelict limo helped foil a plot to fire bomb two borough synagogues on May 20, 2009 when he led would-be bombers into the hands of waiting FBI agents.

According to published reports, Shahed Hussian, 62, the owner of the ill-fated Prestige Limousines, was the FBI informant known as ‘Malik’ who helped deter the bombings of Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Center, both on Independence Avenue.

Four men were arrested and later found guilty of plotting to blow up the synagogue and the nearby Jewish community center – James Cromitie, Laguerre Payen, David Williams and Onta Williams. The foursome was also charged with planning to shoot down airplanes at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburg, NY.

A New York state trooper and members of the National Transportation Safety Board view the scene of Saturday’s fatal crash.
AP Photo/Hans Pennink

The crash on Saturday, October 6 that involved a 2001 stretch Ford Excursion operated by the limousine company which was registered at a motel complex, under the business name Hasy Limos, killed 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians in a parking lot after the vehicle ran a stop sign in Schoharie, NY, according to published reports.

Hussian, who turned an FBI informant after authorities busted him in scam involving the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles in 2002, drove the suspects who were later convicted in a 2010 federal domestic terrorism trial to a borough synagogue in a vehicle that contained explosives. The conversation that took place in the car was tape-recorded, according to published reports.

Reports also stated that the FBI began using Hussian as an informant within the DMV, and that after several years doing that, he was paid a salary of $96,000 to investigative Newburg, NY area mosques and infiltrate individuals and groups of individuals who may have had radical notions – such as the need for jihad, or holy war.

The UK Daily Mail reported that FBI agent Robert Fueller stated he was sent to the mosque for a number of reasons that involved other FBI investigations, but that he also asked him to keep his ears open for any individual who was speaking radically, and that while everyone is entitled to free speech, he and the bureau wanted that information.

Hussain’s FBI collaboration was instrumental in the arrest of terror suspect James Cromitie (r) in May 20, 2009.
File Photo

The UK Daily also reported that although his undercover work was valuable, he later came under scrutiny as a reliable informant and witness when at trial it was suggested that he might have switched off the tape recorder he was using at critical moments of the conversations with the would-be defendants.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and USA Today Network reported that Hussian is currently in his native Pakistan.

Newspaper accounts stated that a New York State police spokesman said that anyone found to have acted in a criminal manner in relation to the crash would be held accountable.

As of press time, a media outlet reported that Hussian’s son, Nauman Hussain, had been arrested in Albany, NY and faces charges in the horrific tragedy.

The Riverdale Jewish Center was one of two targets where terrorists planned to plant bombs which was foiled by the FBI informer on May 20, 2009.
Photo courtesy of AP Images/David Karp

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at

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