Former Morgan Stanley Analyst Framed For Armed Robbery By Boyfriend Now Being Accused Of Setting Him Up

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Despite the fact that Morgan Stanley beat expectations last quarter, things are still not yet peachy keen again at the bank. Brad Hintz fears it's going to be years before clients put MS back on speed dial, Blackberry usage is stiflingly curtailed, Dick Bové has dropped hints he's going to go Fatal Attraction on James Gorman's ass, and come January John Mack will not be around protect everyone with his Tommy gun. Having said that, MS employees are all in a far better place than one of their former colleagues, who had the misfortune of getting involved with a lunatic who chose the reasonable course of framing her for armed robbery after the relationship soured.

Things started out normal-ish enough between Seemona Sumasar and Jerry Ramrattan. They began dating after Jerry came into Seemona's restaurant, which she opened after spending ten years working as an analyst on Wall Street. He claimed he was a police detective, and as he was wearing a uniform and she'd just met him, Seemona had no reason to believe that his actual knowledge of police work was gleaned from obsessively watching C.S.I, Law And Order and "other television police show dramas," as was the case. After Jerry moved into her house, she started noticing that he never went to work and lied all the time. When she told him to leave he refused and instead chose to "corner her, tape her mouth shut and rape her." Seemona pressed charges that resulted in Jerry being arrested (though soon released on bail), which apparently really set him off, as he chose to get revenge by sending her to jail.

One night, Ms. Sumasar was pulled over by the police. Before she could speak, detectives slapped handcuffs on her. “You know you did it,” she said one later shouted at her. “Just admit it.” Ms. Sumasar, a former Morgan Stanley analyst who was running a restaurant, said she had no idea what that meant. Yet suddenly, she was being treated like a brazen criminal. She was charged with carrying out a series of armed robberies, based on what the police said was a wealth of evidence, including credible witness statements and proof that her car was the getaway vehicle. In her first extensive interview about her ordeal, she recalled sitting in jail, consumed by one thought: “Jerry is behind this.” But when she insisted to the authorities that he had set her up, they belittled her claims. Now, though, they concede that Ms. Sumasar was right — an astonishing turn of events that has transformed her case into one of the most bizarre in the city’s recent history. They released her from jail last December after seven months, acknowledging that the entire case against her had been concocted by Mr. Ramrattan, officials said.

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The key to his scheme, prosecutors said, was to spread fake clues over time, fooling police into believing that all the evidence pointed to Ms. Sumasar. They said he coached the supposed victims, driving them past Ms. Sumasar’s house so that they could describe her Jeep Grand Cherokee and showing them her photo so they could pick her out of a police lineup. The setup began in September 2009, prosecutors said. An illegal immigrant from Trinidad told the police that he had been handcuffed and robbed of $700 by an Indian woman who was disguised as a police officer and had a gun, according to court documents. Prosecutors said Mr. Ramrattan had persuaded the immigrant to lie, telling him that he could receive a special visa for victims of violent crimes.

Six months later, another man said he had been robbed in Nassau County by two police impersonators and described the main aggressor as an Indian woman about Ms. Sumasar’s height. The man said he had managed to take down the first three letters of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s New York license plate — AJD. All the while, Ms. Sumasar had a strong alibi, including cell phone records showing that calls were made from her phone at a casino in Connecticut on the day of the robbery. But Sheryl Anania, executive assistant district attorney in Nassau County, said Ms. Sumasar’s business was foundering, so she appeared to have a motive. The final fake crime was conjured in May 2010, officials said, when an acquaintance of Mr. Ramrattan said she had been held up by a couple posing as police officers. She said they were driving a Grand Cherokee, but she gave a full Florida license plate number. She said she heard the pair call each other by name — “Seem” and “Elvis.” Elvis was the nickname of another former boyfriend of Ms. Sumasar, who owned the Jeep. When the police looked into the Florida plate number, they found that the day after the purported March robbery, the title and the plate for the Cherokee had been transferred from Elvis to Ms. Sumasar’s sister in Florida. Ms. Sumasar, who holds a Florida driver’s license, had driven the car to Florida to register it. To the police, she seemed to be covering her tracks. With all the evidence pointing to Ms. Sumasar, the police arrested her. Bail was set at $1 million.

Prosecutors said the scheme unraveled in December 2010 — just weeks before Ms. Sumasar was to go on trial — when an informer told the police that Mr. Ramrattan had staged the plot. The informer gave detectives a number for a cellphone owned by Mr. Ramrattan. When they checked phone records, they discovered multiple calls to the false witnesses, who confessed to the police. They were charged with perjury.

Jerry is set to go to trial on October 3 on rape and conspiracy charges, which he's pleaded not guilty to, claiming that in fact, he's the one being framed.

A Revenge Plot So Intricate The Prosecutors Were Pawns [NYT via Heidi Moore]

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