WASHINGTON – Mohammad Ezazul Hoque, 59, the former owner of several Washington, DC restaurants, was charged today to 37 months in prison for paying bribes to the former Chief of Collections of the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) in exchange for the OTR official taking actions favorable to Hoque’s businesses.
Hoque was also entitled to 37 months in prison, to run concurrent to his bribery sentence, for executing a multi-year scheme to obtain credit cards in others’ names, without their knowledge or consent, to fund his personal and business expenses. Hoque pleaded guilty to the charges in January 2021 in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
The announcement was made by US Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division.
According to court documents, Hoque, of Alexandria, Virginia, paid more than $45,000 in bribes to the OTR official between 2015 and 2017 so that the official would change the status and limit the negative effects of unpaid tax liabilities on his businesses, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Court documents also state that, in 2016, in exchange for the bribes Hoque was paying, the OTR official released a lien on one of his businesses and provided a false certification that it had no outstanding tax liabilities so that Hoque could sell the business to a third party. In fact, Hoque still owed tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and related fees.
As a result of the OTR official’s actions, Hoque was able to sell the business and make a profit of approximately $84,000.
Court papers further state that Hoque also carried out a fraud scheme spanning 2013 to 2017, in which he obtained more than 15 credit cards from various financial institutions in the names of others without their knowledge or consent. Hoque charged more than $40,000 in personal and business expenses to the cards he fraudulently obtained.
In addition to the prison term, the Honorable Carl J. Nichols ordered Hoque to pay a fine of $45,000 and a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $84,000. He must also serve a period of three years of supervised release following completion of his prison term.
In announcing the sentence, US Attorney Graves and Special Agent in Charge Jacobs commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant US Attorney Amanda R. Vaughn, former Assistant US Attorney Bianca Forde, and Paralegal Specialist Joseph McClanahan.