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Facing divorce and debt, man tried to set up wife as terrorist and burn his restaurant, cops say

A federal indictment says Khalil Ahmad, a restaurant owner from Hanover, Maryland, tried to burn down his restaurant Allah Rakha to cash in on insurance money — then make his wife falsely look like a terrorist.
A federal indictment says Khalil Ahmad, a restaurant owner from Hanover, Maryland, tried to burn down his restaurant Allah Rakha to cash in on insurance money — then make his wife falsely look like a terrorist. Wikimedia Commons

After his wife filed for divorce and multiple lawsuits alleged he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, Khalil Ahmad came up with a plan in May, police say.

It involved falsely making his wife look like a terrorist-in-training — and setting his restaurant in Hanover, Maryland, on fire so he could collect insurance money, according to newly released court documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Now Ahmad, who was arrested on a state warrant in June and a federal warrant earlier this month, is facing charges that include stalking and conspiracy to commit second-degree arson, according to the Capital Gazette. The newspaper was the first to report the story.

The court document alleges that an unidentified person told police that on May 10, Ahmad said he was planning to kill his wife after she filed for divorce the month before.

The man said he feared his wife could take a large portion of his money through the divorce, the document says.

Police say that if she couldn’t be killed, Ahmad had another idea: to frame his wife as a terrorist with “extremist jihad writings” and a ballistic vest. Both Ahmad and his wife were “originally from a Middle Eastern country,” the court document notes.

Ahmad also wanted to burn down Allah Rakha, a restaurant in the area that he owns, so he could profit from the insurance policy he just raised by about $200,000, according to the court document.

The Capital Gazette reported that Ahmad faces a $700,000 lawsuit from the company that owns the complex that houses his restaurant, while another man is suing him for $10,000 over a loan.

The unidentified person, who cooperated with police, made multiple meetings with Ahmad that were “covertly audio/video recorded,” according to the court documents. The recordings captured Ahmad figuring out how to pay the person for framing his wife, police say, and they toured the man’s restaurant to see how they could make the fire look like an accident.

In a “ruse,” police say they staged an arrest of Ahmad’s wife to convince him that she had been framed. Then authorities went to the man’s house, where he falsely stated that his wife was taking terrorist classes and also went to a training camp for terrorists, according to the court document.

Ahmad then went to the Anne Arundel Police Department’s criminal investigation department, the court document says, and investigators began to confront him about some of his alleged lies. He argued the unidentified person who cooperated with police was responsible for the scheme to light his business on fire and set up his wife as a terrorist, according to the court document.

He is no longer the owner of Allah Rakha, a woman at the restaurant reportedly told the Capital Gazette. It’s unknown whether he is in custody after his Aug. 2 arrest on federal charges or if he has an attorney for the charges from federal and state authorities.

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