Defendants in Black Muslim temple fraud case ordered to stand trial
By Thomas Peele, Bay Area News Group
HAYWARD — A Black Muslim minister from an Oakland temple, his mother, and four others were ordered to stand trial when a Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that enough evidence exists against them to go forward with a wide-ranging fraud case centered on bids for government security contracts.
Judge Jo-Lynne Lee’s decision came at the end of a lengthy preliminary hearing. She dropped three felonies against alleged ring leader Dahood Bey, 42, that charged him with owning the company that made bogus bids and failing to pay employees’ withholding taxes but ordered him to be tried on 25 others. His mother, Rory Parker, 64, will be tried on 32 felony counts.
Prosecutors Ron Smetana and Tony Douglas allege that Bey and Parker ran a sophisticated scam under the business name BMT International Security Services, submitting bogus credentials and fake résumés for executives who didn’t exist to government agencies. BMT won contracts with Alameda County, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and came close to others, including the Port of Oakland and Vallejo.
An investigation by this newspaper last year found BMT’s bid responses were littered with false claims, including that the company was run by a retired FBI agent who attended Harvard and others at BMT were graduates of Duke, Stanford and Princeton universities. Its guards, documents stated, were retired Navy Seals and Secret Service agents.
But during the hearing, Alameda County District Attorney’s Inspector Ron Miller testified that a former BMT employee said in an interview that she posted Craigslist ads for security guards, listing the pay at about $50 an hour. Several Bay Area reserve and retired law enforcement officers applied and then BMT used their names and credentials to put on their roster of guards, Miller said.
That employee claimed in the interview to have created many of the false documents, setting the scams in motion, Miller said. She left the company in 2012.
Parker’s lawyer said many of the bid submissions contained fabrications, including claims that Parker had worked in international security for 50 years, which would have had her starting at age 14. But she didn’t know about them and was being used, the lawyer, Michael Dinning, said.
“She is a stalking horse, a creation of minds other than her own,” Dinning said Tuesday, jabbing at the air as Parker sat behind him in blue jail clothes and glasses with pink and brown frames, a black scarf partially covering her long dreadlocks.
Bey’s lawyer, Autumn Paine, said investigators “set out to prove my client is the person wrapped up in these charges … while excluding others.” Running a “temple much disliked by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is not a crime.”
The other defendants Lee ordered to stand trail are Basheer Fard Muhammad, 62; Qadirah Najeebah Bey, 39; Jameelah Aasma Muhammad Bey, 39; and Billie Latrice Poindexter, 33. Each of the six defendants was arrested in a series of predawn raids in September in Oakland, Richmond and unincorporated Contra Costa County and has been unable to make bail. A seventh person arrested, Ira Dickerson, 53, has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators.
Bey, Parker and the others are due back in court Feb. 11.
Staff writer Malaika Fraley contributed to this report. Follow Thomas Peele at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.