Woman jailed for months was framed by ex-boyfriend, DA says
MINEOLA, N.Y. — For more than a year after she accused her former boyfriend of rape, Seemona Sumasar said his friends pressured her to drop the charges. City health and buildings inspectors would show up at her Queens restaurant to investigate anonymous complaints that she was sure were filed by the former boyfriend.
Then she was arrested on charges she had committed a pair of armed robberies while posing as a police officer.
Sumasar spent nearly seven months behind bars, until prosecutors determined the robberies were actually an elaborate frame-up orchestrated by the former boyfriend. She was freed last week, but she said yesterday that her business is ruined, her home is threatened with foreclosure, and her pleas of innocence were ignored.
Prosecutors, acting on a tip, filed perjury charges against the boyfriend and the two robbery “victims’’ who confessed they had lied.
Sumasar, the mother of a 12-year-old, just wishes investigators would have paid attention to her long ago.
“They acted like I’m just trying to blame somebody else for something I did,’’ Sumasar, 35, said at a news conference in her attorney’s office yesterday. “They did not want to look into it at all.’’
The attorney, Anthony Grandinette, said it is too soon to consider a civil lawsuit, noting that Sumasar’s robbery charges are still pending. She is due back in Nassau County Court on Jan. 10.
When she was arrested in May, Sumasar was held on $1 million bail. That was later cut in half, but her attorney said there was no way she could post either amount, leaving her to await trial in jail.
It was the first time she had ever been behind bars.
“I didn’t think I was going to last a day or a night there,’’ she said. “It was bad. I cried. I prayed. I meditated. I did everything I could to keep my mind from going crazy. I was praying somebody’s going to listen.’’
Sumasar, who had worked for a decade on Wall Street, owned a franchise restaurant, a Golden Crust bakery, at the time of her arrest. Her family operated the struggling business for three months while she was in jail, but they eventually had to shut it down, she said.
She said her daughter, Chiara, had to move out of their Queens home and live temporarily with her father in Brooklyn. Sumasar didn’t even let the child visit her in the Nassau County Jail for the first few months she was there, but she eventually relented.
“I didn’t think it was a place for her to come, but at the same time I didn’t know when I was getting out of there,’’ Sumasar said.
The rape charges are still pending against the former boyfriend, Jerry Ramrattan, in Queens. He pleaded not guilty last week to perjury and other charges in the Sumasar robbery case and is being held on $500,000 bail.
His attorney did not return repeated telephone messages for comment, but told Newsday last week that there “is no credible evidence’’ against his client.
Sumasar said the rape took place in Ramrattan’s Queens apartment in March 2009.
Because of the pressure she endured in the ensuing months, she said, “at some point, I wanted it to go away and thought about not testifying.’’ But she decided to stick with the case, saying she was angry “he had the nerve to send me all these threats.’’
After her robbery arrest, she said she told detectives about the pending rape case.
“I think everybody looked at me as a drama queen, like I’m giving them a Lifetime movie story and you know, nobody believes me,’’ she said.
Grandinette said he pleaded with authorities to investigate Sumasar’s alibi that she was at a Connecticut casino when one of the armed robberies supposedly took place.
He said he was preparing his client for a January trial when the plot to frame his client unraveled last week.