Limo company operator has history as Federal Bureau of Investigation informant

Shahed Hussain

POLICE have arrested the son of the owner of the limo company behind the weekend's crash that killed 20 people in NY.

The limousine, built from a 2001 Ford Excursion, ran the stop sign, crossed three lanes of traffic and hit a parked SUV before stopping in a wooded ditch. Hussain said the accusation was false and politically motivated.

Shahed Hussain own Prestige Limousines involved in NY crash.

On Monday, Prestige Limousine company said it was investigating what caused Saturday's crash and had met state and federal authorities.

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Albany-area lawyer Dana Salazar, who represented Shahed Hussain in a civil action against Saratoga County that revolved around the Saratoga Road motel property, verified Monday that her client had indeed been the celebrated informant.

Hussain emigrated from Pakistan in the early 1990s, fleeing a murder charge that he later said was trumped up, according to news reports.

He later was accused of making fraudulent statements in a personal bankruptcy case as well. Civil liberties groups questioned the tactics used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its informant, however.

Hossain would later be convicted of conspiring to aid a terrorist group and provide support for a weapon of mass destruction and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In 2009, he was behind another sting that saw four men convicted of planning to bomb synagogues and shoot down planes.

Terence Kindlon once called Hussain a "confidence man" whom he said could not be trusted. In the Newburgh Four case, he was reportedly paid $100,000.

In addition, he said, a cellphone number Hussain had given him was the same number used by Hussain during the 2009 counterterrorism investigation against the four Newburgh men.

"And, perhaps perversely, it's hard not to come away without some degree of admiration for Mr. Hussain, seen and heard only in the grainy videos shot in his vehicle and living room", said reviewer Mike Hale.

Prestige Limousine has been criticised for maintaining vehicles rife with violations and for employing a driver lacking a commercial licence. The make of those vehicles is not listed in the database, and it is not clear whether Hussain owned the 2001 Ford Excursion.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "We inspected the vehicle just last month".

The driver did not have a proper license to operate the vehicle, the governor added.

It has also been revealed that the vehicle involved in the crash failed a safety inspection in September and that the driver was not properly licensed.

The accident was the deadliest transportation accident in the United States in nine years.

Hussain and his wife previously lived at the motel but the manager, Arnie Cornett, on Monday said they were no longer living there when he moved in about 18 months ago.

The day-to-day operation of the company is overseen by Hussain's son, according to the paper, and police said that the former informant is now out of the country.

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