Georgia Man Arraigned on Fraud and Money Laundering Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 28, 2014|
R.C. Patel a/k/a Rajesh C. Patel, 55, of Duluth, Georgia, was arraigned today in U.S. District Court in Nashville on investment fraud and related money laundering charges, announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Patel pleaded not guilty to these charges.
“Investment fraud schemes cause irreparable harm across a broad spectrum—to the individual investors who lose their savings to such schemes, to small businesses trying to raise capital legitimately, and to the integrity of our economy as a whole,” said U.S. Attorney Rivera. “This office will continue to prioritize and vigorously prosecute these types of cases.”
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation stands ready with its federal, state, and local partners to protect the community from those who seek financial gain through the use of fraudulent and deceptive practices,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Todd McCall. “Those who engage in such illegal tactics can rely on being the subject of a vigorous and thorough investigation, no matter where they are located. Anyone with information regarding fraudulent conduct is encouraged to immediately contact their local FBI office.”
On May 14, 2014, a federal grand jury sitting in the Middle District of Tennessee indicted Patel on five counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and four counts of money laundering. According to the indictment, Patel schemed to defraud a Brentwood, Tennessee investor of more than $1,500,000 in connection with two investments in hotel properties.
In one investment involving the purchase of a hotel building, Patel is alleged to have misrepresented to the investor that he had successfully bid on and acquired the mortgage when, in fact, he had not even placed a bid on the property. Instead, Patel used the $500,000 provided by the investor for his personal and unrelated purposes.
The indictment also alleges that Patel induced the same investor to invest an additional $750,000 in a partnership formed by Patel to purchase a beachfront hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In exchange for his investment, Patel promised the investor a 25 percent ownership interest in the hotel partnership. However, after collecting the investor’s funds, Patel revised the partnership’s operating agreement to remove any reference to the investor and his ownership interest.
The indictment further alleges that Patel used the $750,000 provided by the investor to reduce an unrelated personal loan in his own name and shifted the remaining proceeds to an account under his control through a series of transfers and deposits.
If convicted, Patel faces up to 20 years in prison on each fraud count and up to 10 years in prison on each money laundering count, in addition to potential fines and forfeiture of any money or property derived from the fraud.
The case was investigated by the FBI. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely.
An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. This defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.