Indian-American mastermind of jewelry heist sent to prison

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An Indian-American man was sent to prison by a judge Aug. 19. for leading a theft ring.

Back in September 2017, Amit Patel (also known as Alex Patel), 49, along with Mimi Chang, Andrea Mullins Deanna Williams (also known as Dee Dee Williams), and Danny Ray Horne, all residents of Middletown, Ohio, were charged in an indictment with the strong-armed robbery of a diamond/jewelry merchant in Monroeville, Pa. on April 2, 2016, according to a Justice Department press release.

All five pleaded guilty in May 2018, to robbing two New York traveling jewelry salesmen who had gone to Monroeville’s convention center for a jewelry show.

This Aug. 19, 2019, Patel was sent to prison for 30 months, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reported.

The FBI began the investigation after the owner of the jewelry store in Monroeville, Pa., filed a police report with the Monroeville Police Department following the robbery. At that time the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Benjamin Glassman said the government was seeking forfeiture of more than $1 million, which represents the total amount of proceeds the defendants obtained as a result of the offense.

A Cincinnati judge who passed the sentence also ruled that Patel has to pay the $1.1 million equivalent value of the jewelry he and his co-conspirators robbed.

According to the Post-Gazette, federal agents said the jewelry robbery took place in the parking lot of an Indian restaurant called Udipi Cafe as the jewelry salesmen stopped to get food. One of them stayed in the van while the other went to buy the food. Patel and the other robbers attacked the man in the van and ran off with the suitcases containing the jewelry.

Prosecutors also said that Patel was involved in two other robberies back in 2013, from the Monroeville hotel, the Post-Gazette reported.

The original indictment of 2017, charged the defendants with one count of conspiring, beginning on or about March 30, to commit a Hobbs Act robbery. The Hobbs Act is a federal law prohibiting interference with interstate commerce and violating the law is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

 

 

 

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