NEW YORK – Indian American hotelier Nik Patel of Orlando, Florida, has been allegedly accused of engaging in a new multimillion-dollar loan fraud while he was on bonded release last year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, federal prosecutors filed new documents on Saturday, March 3, while Patel sentencing hearing was scheduled for Tuesday morning in Chicago before U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras.
“While on bond and awaiting sentence in this case, defendant devised a scheme to obtain fraudulent loans totaling approximately $19 million by impersonating an employee of Banco do Brazil and taking the identity of a legitimate financial institution,” states the government’s position paper on sentencing, which also calls for a prison term of 30 years for Patel.
Patel was originally arrested in September 2014 and had pleaded guilty in December 2016.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Patel used the money made from the fraud to shop at high-end stores, make multiple visits to brothels in Panama, stay at expensive hotels, take a $19,000 charter flight to Chicago for the court hearing in his criminal case and buy a $30,000 tab for his daughter’s birthday party which was held at the Four Seasons hotel in Orlando in 2017.
Patel was arrested at the Gateway Kissimmee Airport on Jan. 6 when he was caught by the FBI, while trying to flee to Ecuador where he was seeking political asylum and planned to purchase one of the world’s rarest diamonds using $35 million with his “dirty money.”
Federal authorities alleged that Patel was at the Kissimmee airport with Orlando businessman Kevin Timirchand, who has since been charged in Orlando federal court with wire fraud, and that both men were planning to move to Ecuador and set up a business there, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Andrew DeVooght, Patel’s attorney, has filed a response to the government’s recommendations saying “the government’s request for a 30-year sentence is not appropriate in this case” because “such a sentence ignores many important facts” such as Patel’s guilty plea and the fact that his business partner was also involved in the fraud.