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Somers Businessman Charged With Loan, Tax Fraud

Somers businessman Selim “Sam” Zherka, shown giving a speech at a Tea Party rally in 2010, was charged yesterday with falsifying loan documents and tax fraud, among other things.
Somers businessman Selim “Sam” Zherka, shown giving a speech at a Tea Party rally in 2010, was charged yesterday with falsifying loan documents and tax fraud, among other things. Photo Credit: Screen grab from YouTube

SOMERS, N.Y. -- A federal grand jury indicted a well-known Somers businessman with falsifiying loan applications to banks and other charges on Thursday.

Selim “Sam” Zherka, 46, was expected to be arraigned in federal court in White Plains on Friday. The other charges are tax fraud, wire fraud and witness tampering. Zherka could face up to 300 years in prison if convicted on all of the accumulated charges.

Zherka publishes the Westchester Guardian, a weekly newspaper, and is also active in politics with the Independence Party. Zherka, the father of eight children, is also a strip-club owner and affiliated with the Tea Party.

Zherka is also charged with defrauding a businessman of his right to collect a court judgment against Zherka for assault and breach of contract.”

According to the indictment, from November 2005 through 2008, Zherka obtained a total of over $146 million in loans from three banks for the purchase and/or refinancing of apartment house complexes in New England, Tennessee, New Jersey, and New York.

The indictment contends Zherka obtained the loans by lying about the purchase prices of the real estate he was acquiring, the amount of the down payments he was making toward the purchases in question, his assets, his income, his tax returns, and the nature and circumstances of a 2000 court judgment against him for assault and breach of contract.

Additionally, Zherka was was charged with repeatedly submitting fraudulent tax returns to the IRS that overstated depreciation expenses and understated his capital gains on tax returns for the real estate holding companies in which he was a partner. The indictment also contends Zherka obstructed the Internal Revenue Service by failing to file personal tax returns for over a decade.

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