NEW YORK – After pleading guilty to a massive fraud of more than $179 million and trying to flee the country earlier this month, Indian American businessman and hotelier Nik Patel of Florida wanted to buy one of the world’s rarest diamonds using $35 million in “dirty money,” to launder money through Dubai bank accounts and seek help from lawyers and consultants from around the world, according to a new report logged by the FBI on Friday, Jan. 26.
According to an Orlando Sentinel report, the agents, who stopped Patel on Jan. 6 at Kissimmee Gateway Airport, said that he was carrying an outline of his plan showing that “buying diamonds was the best method of laundering money.”
The contents of the outline were filed as evidence to deny further bond for Patel.
“This is the cleanest way to do the transaction, kill any trace, and cover everyone. Legit stones are being bought, and the ‘trace’ ends there. Francesca did nothing wrong by buying the stone for the ‘client’ and neither did the person selling the stone,” stated the outline that feds attribute to Patel.
According to the Orlando Sentinel report, other details outlined in the documents filed Friday said that Patel had many things awaiting him in Ecuador such as luxury cars which valued at $500,000, a bag of some kind of white powder that was seized at the airport, luxury watches, $20,000 in cash and eight cell phones at his home.
According to the Orlando Sentinel report, before his alleged flight attempt, Patel had been on bonded release for years as he was originally arrested in September 2014, he will now be sentenced for the original loan fraud worth $179 and the attempt to flee the country, on March 5.
Federal authorities alleged that Patel was with Orlando businessman Kevin Timirchand at the Kissimmee airport, and that both men were planning to move to Ecuador and set up a business there.
“Patel stated that Timirchand made the arrangements for the charter flight, and Timirchand was holding the approximately $20,000 in currency they were traveling with,” the federal court filing said.
According to the authorities, Patel had arranged for his family to fly to Ecuador the day after he fled and since they did, Patel recently told the court that they would provide money for his bond.
The documents filed Friday by U.S. Attorney’s office also indicate Patel had a network of banks set up to receive funds, including a “middle-man bank,” a “beneficiary bank” and a “final beneficiary bank.”
According to an earlier News India Times report, Patel was the owner of First Farmers Financial and was buying hotels in Orlando and other cities and was also invested in restaurants.
According to an Orlando Sentinel report, Patel had tried to sell $179 million in fraudulent loans, saying they were backed by the USDA when they weren’t, court investigators have already recovered about $100 million from the sale of hotels and homes though he has created much more damage.