BY NATHAN DUKE
Four men have been charged in the Oct. 23 murder of an Ozone Park business owner in front of his son as well as the extortion of both victims, the U.S. attorney for New York’s Eastern District said.
Staten Island’s Ppassim Elder, 38, and Brooklyn’s Dwayne Ling, 55, and Frederick McCoy, 52, have been charged in the murder of Hani Kasem, 64, inside Garden Valley Distributors, a family-owned grocery distribution center in Ozone Park.
Mahdi Abdel-Rahim, 24, who is from Brooklyn, was charged for his alleged role in the extortion of Kasem and his son.
Ling and Abdel-Rahim were arrested on March 1, while Elder was picked up in Cleveland on March 2. McCoy was arrested on March 7 and arraigned the following day in Brooklyn federal court before U.S. Magistrate Robert Levy.
“As alleged in the court filings, defendant Ppassim Elder exploited a business owner’s need for a loan and sent his enforcers to try to collect it, ultimately leading to a senseless and tragic murder,” said Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for New York’s Eastern District. “No son should ever watch his father be killed.”
According to the charges, Ling and McCoy walked into the Garden Valley Distributors on the morning of Oct. 23 and allegedly told Kasem that Elder—who is also known as “Big Sam”—had sent them to collect his money. Elder had given the murder victim’s son a loan, which the son had used to support the business. By March 2017, Elder demanded full repayment of the loan, but the son could not afford to repay it since so much of the money had been used to purchase merchandise for Garden Valley.
In response, Elder allegedly began a campaign of intimidation against Kasem, his son and the family. Elder allegedly paid Abdel-Rahim to throw a rock through the window of the son and his father. When the loan was still not repaid, Elder allegedly sent Ling, McCoy and a third coconspirator to Garden Valley, where the perpetrators are accused of pistol-whipping the son across his head and shooting Kasem in the face.
All four defendants are charged with extortionate collection of credit conspiracy and extortionate collection of credit. Elder, Ling and McCoy are charged with brandishing a firearm in furtherance of those crimes of violence and causing the death of another through the use of a firearm, Donoghue said.
If convicted of the murder or firearm charge, Elder, Ling and McCoy face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. If convicted of the extortion charge, Abdel-Rahim faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.