FBI arrests man for owing $1.6 million in child support

Dr. Raihan Chowdhury 
By: Anika Rao 

The FBI arrested a fugitive, who owed more than $1.6 million in child support, according to court records.

A Brooklyn, New York doctor, who abandoned his wife and children and fled to Bangladesh, leaving them homeless, has been jailed after six years on the run. He was named as the most deadbeat dad, federal authorities said.

Dr. Raihan Chowdhury, 51, was arrested on a federal warrant when his plane landed at Dulles Airport in Virginia.

Investigators had been following his every move, and were ready to arrest him when his flight from Qatar landed.

"We knew he was coming," Thomas O'Donnell, an agent with the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said. "He was quiet, almost as if he knew. He probably was thinking of slipping through the cracks.”

Chowdhury, who has a sister in Virginia, bolted in 2006, racking up $1.6 million in child support, according to the counsel of his former wife. That's a half a million more than second-worst deadbeat in the nation, Robert Sand, the owner of a car dealership in Nassau County, who fled to Thailand and owes $1.1 million.

Chowdhury had been living in luxury in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, following the sale of his family house for $975,000 in South Midwood and liquidated all his assets in late 2005.

In January 2006, he left his wife, Sharmin, and three children then ages 8, 6 and 2, in Bangladesh after a family vacation to Disneyland in Hong Kong.

They returned to an empty house. His friend had removed the furniture along with Sharmin’s medical degree and jewelry. When the new owners came, the family was forced to move to a homeless shelter.

Sharmin filed for divorce. As the case moved forward, Chowdhury provided another surprise.

"He said he had obtained a divorce in Bangladesh and remarried," Laurence Greenberg, her lawyer said. "So he has been living with his new wife in Dhaka in a luxury apartment in the most expensive part of the city."

Sharmin found work as a medical assistant. She was a gynecologist before marriage and abandoned her career. Eventually, she got an apartment. Her children are now public school honor students.

Chowdhury has ignored $9,680 a month in support, despite having earned $280,000 a year as an anesthesiologist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, and owned several pain management clinics and a telephone card company.

When a judge granted the divorce last year, the husband also was ordered to divide marital property 50 to 50, which means that he owes his former wife an additional $1 million.

Greenberg submitted court documents to the Office of Child Support City of Human Resources Administration, which assigned an investigator who contacted the feds. It is a federal crime to flee the country to avoid child support.