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Miller reportedly victimized by fraud

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A man on trial for allegedly creating a fraudulent multi-million-dollar Pakistani real estate scheme is now informally accused of also swindling Miami Heat basketball players, including Mitchell native Mike Miller.

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According to reports from The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio and CBS News, Haidar Zafar is being held in Ohio on the fraud charges and is currently on trial. Zafar is a native of Pakistan and a legal U.S. resident.

Zafar is on trial for allegedly cheating Washington, D.C., businessman Patwinder Sidhu out of $10 million for scam real estate ventures in Pakistan.

A witness told a judge last week during the trial that Zafar also cheated Miami Heat players, including Mitchell native Mike Miller, a former player for the team who’s now with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The witness, international investment attorney Andrew Fine, said the Heat players invested $8 million with Zafar. Reports do not specify if the amount is a combined total or the amount invested by each player. The testimony convinced the judge Zafar is a flight risk who should be kept in jail, according to The Dispatch.

CBS news reported that the Heat players were not mentioned in the criminal complaint against Zafar.

The alleged scam was that Zafar told investors his uncle was the defense minister for Pakistan, and would tip him to some land the government planned to purchase there. He told his investors he would purchase the land and sell it to the Pakistani government at a large profit. Allegedly, none of that information was true.

Miller was also allegedly victimized in a separate hedge fund scam that swindled more than 100 investors of millions of dollars. Miller filed a lawsuit in 2012 in U.S. District Court in South Dakota against Randy Hansen, of Sioux Falls, and Vincent Puma, of New Jersey, suing for $200,000. The case remains unresolved, with the most recent action being a request for a deadline extension for filing paperwork, according to court documents.

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