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Westchester Publisher Zherka Sentenced For Real-Estate Scheme

Westchester Guardian publisher Sam Zherka will serve approximately three years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of tax fraud, witness tampering and more.
Westchester Guardian publisher Sam Zherka will serve approximately three years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of tax fraud, witness tampering and more. Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester publisher and strip club owner Selim "Sam" Zherka of Somers took a plea deal for 37 months in prison, according to Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Zherka will also have to forfeit $5.23 million and pay a $1.5 million fine.

As previously reported , Zherka, a Somers resident who is publisher of the Westchester Guardian, faced up to 300 years in prison for federal charges including tax fraud, submitting false loan applications and tampering with witnesses.

Zherka conspired with others, starting in December 2005, to obtain $63.5 million in loans from Sovereign Bank (now Santander) for the purchase of apartment house complexes in Tennessee by lying about the purchase price of the real estate he was acquiring and the amount of the down payments he was making toward the purchases in question, Bharara said.

“Selim Zherka waged a years-long campaign of lies to banks and the IRS to obtain millions of dollars in loans and fraudulently reduce his tax liabilities," Bharara said in a statement. "Now he faces prison and the forfeiture of over $5 million. I want to thank the IRS, the FBI, and the TARP Special Inspector General for their excellent work on this case.”

The 48-year-old Zherka has been detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan since his arrest on Aug. 27, 2014.

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