A New York woman is finally out of jail after spending seven months trying to convince police that an angry ex-boyfriend had orchestrated an elaborate frame-up of her for a spree of faked armed robberies.
Police weren't convinced until an informant tipped them off that Seemona Sumasar was allegedly framed by her ex-boyfriend Jerry Ramrattan after she had accused Ramrattan of rape.
Sumarsar was released from jail and Ramrattan was arrested, but not before Sumarsar lost her bakery business and her house.
"Jerry Ramrattan's tangled web of deception and manipulation created a nightmare scenario for this innocent woman," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice told ABC News.
The prosecutor's office said the alleged frame-up was convincing because there was an "extraordinary attention paid to detail."
Sumasar, a 35, was accused of robbing three different people at gunpoint while impersonating a police officer between September 2009 and May 19 of this year.
According to documents from the Nassau County District Attorney'soffice, Terrell Lovell phoned police in March and reported he had been robbed at gunpoint by a man and a woman impersonating police officers. According to the report, Lovell was able to give a partial license plate number of the supposed getaway car.
In May, an anonymous caller phoned police to say he had been robbed at gunpoint by a man and a woman impersonating cops. "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," documents state.
According to the DA's reports, police contacted Lovell and showed him a picture of Sumasar's sister, but Lovell told authorities that she was not the person who robbed him.
Days after that robbery was reported, Luz Johnson contacted police to report that she has been robbed on Long Island by a woman and a man impersonating police officers, the DA's office says.
"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," the documents say.
Authorities Say Elaborate Frame-Up Kept Wrong Woman in Jail for Seven Months
Two days later Johnson called Nassau County police to report a woman driving a black Nissan had attempted to steal her car out of her driveway, the report states, and suggested the mail and the spare car key that was supposedly lost in the initial robbery had led the thieves to her home.
Johnson supplied the Nissan's license plate and police discovered the plate belonged to Sumasar's boyfriend at the time.
When the vehicle was spotted and stopped by police, they found Sumasar driving it. Lovell later picked her out of a line up as the person who robbed him, the documents state.
Sumasar was charged with two counts of robbery, two counts of criminal use of a firearm and two counts of criminal impersonation and unlawful wearing of a body vest.
The woman immediately suspected Ramrattan and began claiming she was set up by her ex-boyfriend, who she has accused of rape in March 2009, according to reports.
"They acted like I'm just trying to blame somebody else for something I did," Sumasar said at a news conference in her attorney's office Wednesday.
Sumasar said during the press conference that after Ramrattan allegedly raped her, he treatened her repeatedly, and he also allegedly had his friends and associates pressure her to drop the charges, but she refused.
During the news conference, Sumasar talked about her fears facing jail for the first time in her life. "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."
Despite her prayers, a grand jury indicted her on armed robbery charges, and for seven months she sat in prison awaiting trial. During that time, she told reporters, her bakery business went under, her house was foreclosed on and her 12-year-old daughter was left without her mother.
No one believed Sumasar until Nov. 30 when an unnamed informant walked into the Nassau County District Attorney's office and told them it was all made up in an effort to silence Sumasar.
"An informant told the DA's office that Seemona Sumasar, 35, had been framed by an ex-boyfriend and was being held in the Nassau jail for crimes that never took place," Rice said in a statement.
Woman Freed From Jail, Ex-Boyfriend Charge With Frame-Up
According to Rice, the informant told her that Ramrattan promised to pay the "witnesses" in exchange for their false reports. However Carol Trottere, spokesperson for the DA's office, told ABC News today that the planning went further than that.
"The guy had a web of manipulation," Trottere said.
"He's a cop wannabe. He knew police procedure. He prepped the witnesses so well. He told one to give partial plates in order to be good, but not so good, so he seemed credible. He picked people he knew, but who didn't know each other. And he used different phones to contact them all. It was very clever," Trottere said.
"Once my office became aware of the new evidence, we worked quickly to release Sumasar and to arrest the defendant," Rice said in a statement.
Sumasar was released last week, and both Lovell and Johnson have been arrested and charged with perjury, police said. They have not yet entered a plea.
Ramrattan was arrested last week and hit with a battery of charges ranging from perury to filing false reports.
"Mr. Ramrattan continues to maintain his innocence in all of the allegations currently pending against him. Specifically, with regard to the original allegation of rape currently pending in Queens County, Mr. Ramrattan maintains that the allegations against him were fabricated by his girlfriend after he sought to terminate their relationship. Mr. Ramrattan is looking forward to fighting these allegations in court and he expects to be fully exonerated," Ramrattan's attorney, James Kilduff, told ABC News today.
Sumasar and her attorney, Anthony Grandinette, expressed anger towards authorities, but Trottere told ABC News that the plot was not easy to unravel.
"This was anything but a simple and straightforward plot. There was extraordinary attention paid to detail so that it wouldn't appear that the witnesses were too eager to be involved. There were multiple 'victims' who reported being robbed in similar ways over a nine-month period, and bit by bit, investigators attempted to uncover who was responsible for these crimes," Trottere said.
"The new informant, not any other piece of information, is what broke this case open and we couldn't control the timing of that," she said.