Three charged in scheme to frame innocent woman

Luz Johnson, Jerry Ramrattan and Terrell Lovell

December 3, 2010 8:18:05 PM PST
Investigators have arrested three people accused in an elaborate scheme to frame an innocent Far Rockaway woman.

She was accused in May 2010 of impersonating a police officer and robbing victims at gunpoint, but it has turned out to be all a lie.

Within the last week, an informant told the Nassau County DA's office that Seemona Sumasar, 35, had been framed by an ex-boyfriend. Sumasar was being held in the Nassau jail for crimes that never took place, the informant claimed.

After the district attorney's office corroborated the informant's account, Sumasar was released from jail On Thursday.

District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that Jerry Ramrattan, 38, of East Elmhurst, promised to pay off two "witnesses" in Nassau County to lie to authorities that Sumasar, along with a male accomplice, had conducted a number of gunpoint robberies while Sumasar and the accomplice impersonated police officers.

Investigators then questioned each witness, who they say separately confessed that Ramrattan promised to pay them to report false incidents regarding Sumasar. Ramrattan coached the false witnesses to give police partial license plate numbers of cars Sumasar was known to drive and to identify her in a photo array.

The witnesses, Terrell Lovell and Luz Johnson were arrested on Wednesday and charged with perjury.

According to Rice, Ramrattan also promised to pay off a witness in Queens to falsely report that Sumasar had robbed him at gunpoint back in September 2009 while in Jamaica, Queens. After corroborating the informant's story, the Nassau County DA's office immediately contacted Sumasar's defense counsel and the Queens County District Attorney's office to coordinate efforts in clearing her of the charges and setting her free.

Sumasar's lawyer says the motive was intimidation. Sumasar has accused Ramrattan of rape and was preparing to testify at his trial at the time of her arrest.

Ramrattan has been charged with two counts of Perjury in the First Degree; two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree; two counts of Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree; two counts of Offering False Instrument; two counts of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree.

He is being held on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash and returns to court on December 7.

In Nassau County, the false accusations targeting Sumasar began on March 2, 2010, when Lovell reported to police that he had been robbed at gunpoint by two suspects while driving in Inwood. He described the suspects as a woman and a man dressed as police officers. Lovell gave a partial license plate number of the getaway car to police.

Sometime in May 2010 police received an anonymous call from a man who claimed to have been the victim of a crime. The caller stated that he had been robbed at gunpoint by a female and male suspect impersonating police officers. The caller told police that he did not want to formally report the incident, but he did give police a full license plate number of the getaway car. Police traced the plate to Sumasar's sister, but when police showed Lovell a photo of the sister, he did not identify her as the person who robbed him in March.

On May 19, Johnson reported to police that she was robbed at gunpoint by two suspects impersonating police officers while she was driving in Inwood. Johnson gave police a full license plate number and also reported that some mail with her New Jersey address, along with a spare car key, had been taken by the suspects during the robbery.

Two days later Johnson called Nassau County Police from her New Jersey home to report that someone driving a black Nissan had attempted to steal her car. She reported the license plate number of the Nissan to police, who traced the car to Devon McDonald, Sumasar's boyfriend. Police believed that Sumasar had a connection to both cars that had been reported being used in the robberies, as well as the attempted car theft in New Jersey involving the black Nissan.

Sumasar was arrested by Nassau County Police on May 21 after police found her driving the black Nissan. Both Johnson and Lovell identified her in a photo array and Sumasar was charged with two counts of Robbery in the First Degree; two counts of Criminal Use of a Firearm and two counts of Criminal Impersonation and Unlawful Wearing of a Body Vest.

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