The owner of a company whose limousine was involved in a crash that killed 20 people in New York State this past weekend is a Pakistani immigrant who has been a government informant in the investigation of suspected terrorist threats.
Police said on October 8 that the company owner, Shahed Hussain, is currently in Pakistan.
A stretch limousine that federal records show was owned by Hussain’s company, Prestige Limousine, crashed in the city of Schoharie on October 6 while carrying a a group of people who were on their way to a birthday party.
Police are investigating why the limo passed by a stop sign and sped off the road at the bottom of a long hill, killing the driver, all 17 passengers, and two other people.
According to the Associated Press, Hussain has been a paid government informant who has helped U.S. law enforcement authorities investigate potential domestic terrorist threats after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The government credited Hussain with rooting out radical Muslims in a sting operation at a mosque in the city of Newburgh, New York, in 2009, according to AP.
Hussain posed as a wealthy representative of a Pakistani terrorist organization in that operation, the jury in the resulting trial was told. Four men were convicted of plotting to attack synagogues and shoot down military planes.
According to AP, Hussein “drove a BMW and other luxury vehicles provided by the FBI to maintain his cover” and “made hundreds of hours of video and audio tapes of the defendants picking targets for jihad and ranting against Jews.”
Hussain said he was working as a government translator in 2003 when he pleaded guilty to fraud for helping someone get their driver’s license illegally. He avoided further jail time by agreeing to work as an FBI informant.
AP said the FBI declined to comment on Hussain following the crash on October 8.