Obama, Sunrise Equities, Salman Ibrahim and the Missing Millions


by Tom Mannis
The Bench 

October 17, 2008

EXCLUSIVE thanks to Gramfan

PART ONE – Background of the 2008 Sunrise Equities Scandal

Lets spread the wealth around: CHANGE you can believe in!

Update: SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) — Clifton Mitchell helped register nearly 2,000 voters for the community group ACORN. But not one of them actually existed.

CHICAGO – Barack Obama has strong ties to a Chicago investment company that ripped off investors for a total of approximately $80 million. Sunrise Equities shut down in August when its CEO, Salman Ibrahim, and other top officers vanished. The money seems to have gone with them. Now, the Illinois Secretary of State and the FBI are investigating the scandal.

About 150 investors, mostly Muslim, learned in August that they had lost all of their savings to the Sunrise Equities fraud. Sunrise Equities, a shariah-compliant investment firm, targeted investors who were mostly Pakistani Muslim immigrants. Many the victims took out home-equity loans to make ends meet.

The Muslim Media Network (MMN) reported this on Sept. 11: 

“According to latest reports coming from Chicago the management of Sunrise Equities and the affiliated Sunrise Constructions have disappeared after closing their offices. Sunrise CEO Salman Ibrahim, Vice President AmjedMahmood, and Vice President (Community Relations) Mohammad Akbar Zahid are untraceable.”

As financial scandals go, this one pales next to the implosions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. However, to the hundreds of investors in Chicago who have been ruined by Sunrise Equities, the Fannie-Freddie mess might as well be in another galaxy. Salman Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities have ruined people here just as profoundly as any bank closing in the country has hurt others. Salman Ibrahim gained the trust of investors with the help of religious Muslim leaders, who approved of and even recommended investing with Sunrise Equities because it followed shariah rules, or Islamic law.

The Illinois Secretary of State and the FBI are investigating the scandal. Will Homeland Security be investigating this? After all, Ibrahim is a foreign national. Furthermore, he is rumored by many along the “Devon Corridor” of West Ridge to be a Taliban sympathizer.

The tragedy of Sunrise Equities has ripples throughout Chicago: A March 10, 2006 press release from Sunrise Equities bragged about a transaction in the nearby Uptown neighborhood:

“Sunrise Equities is pleased to announce the purchase of 4 parcels near the corner of Leland and Marine Drive. A yet unnamed project is under development and will be the largest project under the Sun Rise umbrella. The mixed use development plan will call for up to 150 condos and townhomes as well as community retail.”

More press releases are available on the Sunrise Equities web site, which also lists major projects in which they were involved.

The Chicago Tribune reported on September 24, 2008:

The Shariah Board of America’s approval of investing in Sunrise Equities led dozens of other Chicago-area Muslims—mostly Indians and some Pakistanis—to invest and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars with the company, which says it developed multiunit residential buildings in Chicago, the investors said.

Investors said they don’t know if the company suffered losses because of the declining real estate market or for other reasons. Salman Azam, an attorney hired by several investors, said Sunrise’s Chief Executive Officer Salman Ibrahim has not been seen since August. Sunrise’s offices off Devon Avenue are closed. At his home, mail spills out of his mailbox.

Neither Ibrahim nor his attorneys could be reached for comment Monday and Tuesday. Another principal in Sunrise,Amjed Mahmood, declined to comment, saying he had been a vice president in the company and the “corporation had gone down.” He said he lost $500,000 and was now driving a taxi.

For years, Ibrahim and his associates have been heavily involved in Democrat Party political affairs. Ibrahim donated to Barack Obama and to Joe Biden, Local Democrats, such as 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore and 50th Ward Alderman Bernie Stone, benefited as well.

There are questions, then, that must be asked. Where did the missing $80 million go? Did any of that money go to terrorist entities? Inasmuch as Ibrahim is suspected by some in his now-former neighborhood to be sympathetic to radical Islamic groups, the authorities must be wondering where the money went. Was it transferred to accounts overseas? Will Ibrahim, Mahmood and Zahid keep the money for personal benefit? Was any of it transferred to enemies of the United States, such as alQaeda?

According the most recent US Treasury Terrorist Assets Report (TAR), more than $20.7 million was blocked in 2007 that might otherwise have gone to international terrorist organizations and individuals. That’s a big increase from the $16.4 million block in 2006. Al-Qaeda’s share in 2007 is estimated to have been more than $11.3 million, which is 46 percent more than in 2006.

The amount of blocked funds pertaining to international terrorist organizations and individuals, totaled over $20.7 million in 2007, compared to $16.4 million in 2006. Of that, over $11.3 million constituted assets of alQaeda, an increase of almost 46 percent over the level blocked as of the end of 2006. The Bench is not saying that Sunrise Equities officers were terrorists or gave money to terrorists. That is an unknown, but that is the point. As noted, people much close to Ibrahim allege that his sympathies lie with the Taliban. The Taliban, as we all know, sympathizes with alQaeda.

The US Government needs to quickly and thoroughly investigate the Sunrise Equities scandal, with involves around $80 million. That’s almost four times as much as was blocked by the US Treasury in all of 2007.

Barack Obama has long had strong ties to Muslims and to Pakistanis. He also has long and strong ties to Sunrise Equities and Salman Ibrahim.

Obama wanted a satellite fundraising office in the “Devon Corridor,” the largely Indian-Pakistani section of Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood on the north side. Salman Ibrahim was happy to help. Free office space was given to Obama’s campaign within Sunrise’s general offices at 6355 N. Claremont. Obama has long wooed Muslim voters, and did not have a physical presence in this part of Chicago, so the Sunrise location made logistical sense for Obama. It also made sense for Ibrahim and Sunrise as an effort to curry favor with rising star Barack Obama.

In 2004, Sunrise Investments gave Barack Obama free office space during his run for US Senate. The Bench has photographs of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Clearly seen in the photos is Barack Obama and Salman Ibrahim.

We’re not finished yet. Part Two of this story will examine Obama’s connections to Salman Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities. Due to time constraints, The Bench will not detail here Obama’s mysterious three weeks in Pakistan or his numerous Muslim associations. These are points that have been well covered already by a myriad of blogs and publications. Rather, The Bench hopes that the information presented here will alert others with more time and resources to the Sunrise Equities story and the Obama Connection. Perhaps they can pick up the ball and run with it.

NEXT: Part Two - Obama’s Connections to Salman Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities (PART TWO EXPECTED ON THURSDAY, OCT. 23)

8 thoughts on “Obama, Sunrise Equities, Salman Ibrahim and the Missing Millions”

  1. Is there much Obama hasn’t been involved in that’s a bit shady?

    No one says a word. Easier to pick on Palin.Now carrying on about her wardrobe – pathetic.

    And yet she is responsible for all this:

    Question: What is America ’s first line of missile interceptor defense that protects the entire United States ?
    Answer: 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard.

    Question: What is the ONLY National Guard unit on permanent active duty?
    Answer: 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard

    Question: Who is the Commander in Chief of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard?
    Answer: Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska

    Question: What U.S. governor is routinely briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counter terrorism?
    Answer: Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska

    Question: What U.S. governor has a higher classified security rating than either candidate of the Democrat Party?
    Answer: Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska. According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets. She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is.

  2. “Is there much Obama hasn’t been involved in that’s a bit shady?”

    No Gramfan, it appears not. But that’s OK-the Clintons paved the way for this sort of thing in the 1990’s. With them it was one scandal after another yet they got 2 full terms in the White House. I’m convinced that once the media loves and builds up its favorites they are absolved of all misdeeds and crimes. Obama could be a child molesting cannibal who murdered Jews in his spare time while selling top secrets to terrorists and he could still win because this is what the media wants and millions of morons will vote for him just for that reason.

  3. Too funny! You guys really think that this is even a blip on the radar when viewed against McCain’s association with Charles Keating???? Even if this were true, 80 million is nothing compared to the BILLIONS to bail out the S&L’s (a number that ballooned massively due to the delays in investigation perpetrated by mcCain and his cronies..)

    Stop drinking the Kool-Aid and enjoy a cookie of objective perspective…

  4. SufferingFool (which I do not do gladly) I suggest you view Obama with some objective perspective. Given that what is at stake is worth more that 700 Billion I am more that a little uneasy at what Obama might actually be and what his real objectives are. Palin has runs on the board – Obama has NOTHING.

  5. Obama is the better candidate, deal with it. Mr. Obama is educated, articulate, humble, a gentleman, thoughtful and he brings hope to a country that deeply needs sensibility. The GOP did not offer any viable candidate. Its supporters will try to link Obama to anything and everything in a feeble attempt to discredit him. Next thing you know they’ll blame him for the Titanic and Pearl Harbor.

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