An imam who made headlines for trashing a film shown at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is facing prison time in a tax cheat scam, the Daily News has learned.
Sheik Mostafa Elazabawy, a retired NYCHA employee who also heads Masjid Manhattan, faces up to 15 years in prison for swindling at least $140,000 while working as a “tax preparer” at a Hell’s Kitchen Ethiopian restaurant in a side business, prosecutors said.
He also allegedly failed to clear the side gig with the Conflicts of Interests Board while working at the city Housing Authority.
Elazabawy, 60, did state tax returns for Queen of Sheba on Tenth Ave. under an alias between 2005 and 2009, bilking the state out of the six-figure sum, prosecutors said.
“There’s evidence that the defendant prepared the sales tax returns without any records at all although he was in the restaurant many times and had access to those records had he asked for them,” Assistant District Attorney Maurice Mathis said at the clergyman’s Feb. 5 arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to a transcript.
“It appears that he actually was making up the numbers of the sales tax returns,” Mathis added.