Staten Islander, co-defendant convicted of extortion and murder of NYC business owner

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A Staten Islander was one of two defendants convicted Friday of the extortion and murder of a Queens business owner.

Ppassim (Big Sam) Elder, 42, of Staten Island, and Wilbert Bryant, 57, of Brooklyn, were convicted in Brooklyn federal court of extortion, bank fraud, firearms and murder charges following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz II. The two men face life in prison at sentencing.

Ppassim Elder, left, and Wilbert Bryant, right, were convicted of murder and extortion of a Queens business owner, Hani Kasem. (Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York)

“With today’s verdict, a jury has held the defendants accountable for their heinous crimes, including the murder of a Queens business owner while attempting to collect a debt they claimed was owed by the victim’s son,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn M. Kasulis.

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