A well-known Edmonton landlord previously convicted of mortgage fraud and drug trafficking had his most recent drug charges withdrawn by the Crown.
Abdullah Shah, also known as Gohar Pervez or Carmen Pervez, had three sets of drug charges dropped on May 11. According to CBC News, The charges of “possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking” stemmed from a December 2015 search of a business on 111 Avenue and 93 Street.
Paul Moreau, Shah’s lawyer, said to CBC News that there were “material errors” in the search warrants: statements of facts that were not true. He said to CBC News that police are biased against his client and that community groups are critical of him because he’s associated with a group of companies that rent homes to the hard to house.
In 2015, Shah told CBC he owns 100 rental properties in the Edmonton area and purchased a 12-suite building in Parkdale-Cromdale. His companies also own a row of five boarding houses on 86 Street and 112 Avenue. He said he helps people who can’t find housing elsewhere, even giving them employment.
Community residents have a different story; they say the properties are problematic. They alleged there is poor management, substandard renovations and living conditions, criminal and gang activity, unsightly properties, and intimidation. But his supporters and employees say he gives people a chance at finding housing and employment and that property managers work to get problem tenants evicted.
The properties under the control of Shah and his associates have been connected to numerous Public Health Act orders and bylaw infractions. In April, 27 charges under the Public Health Act were stayed (meaning they will not be prosecuted) because it took longer than 18 months to bring to trial. Alberta Health Services appealed the stay on May 18. The next court date is scheduled for May 24.
In 2015, Shah filed a $1-million defamation lawsuit against Parkdale-Cromdale Community League, Counc. Scott McKeen, and two local community residents who frequently spoke out against him. Shah dropped the suit against Parkdale-Cromdale Community League in January of 2016.
In February 2008, Shah pleaded guilty to 54 counts of fraud and was sentenced to six years in prison. The mortgage fraud scheme he ran involved 125 properties and he profited $1.8 million from it between 2001 and 2005. With credit for pretrial custody, he only ended up serving two years.
This was his second prison term. In 1994, he was convicted of trafficking cocaine and sentenced to four years in prison.
Featured Image: In April, 27 charges under the Public Health Act were stayed because it took longer than 18 months to bring to trial. | By Own work [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], Wikimedia Commons