Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that a Hoboken businessman has been indicted for allegedly stealing $750,000 that he solicited from investors to open a bar and restaurant in Hoboken.
Nirav Patel, 39, of Hoboken, was indicted last week by a state grand jury on a second-degree charge of theft by deception. Patel was indicted as the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
According to the press release from the AG, Patel is a real estate and business investor whose primary focus has been restaurants and bars in New Jersey and New York.
In 2014, Patel solicited investors for a World of Beer franchise in Hoboken.
He allegedly accepted $750,000 from an investment group as a share in the ownership of World of Beer Hoboken, but allegedly failed to use those funds for the project and instead, he allegedly deposited the investor funds in his own business account and allegedly used the money for personal and business expenses unrelated to World of Beer Hoboken.
“When New Jersey residents invest their hard-earned money, they are entitled to nothing less than a fair and honest deal,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are committed to protecting investors by diligently investigating allegations of financial fraud and prosecuting dishonest operators.”
“We urge individuals who believe they have been defrauded to contact the Division of Criminal Justice toll free at 866-TIPS-4CJ,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will aggressively investigate financial crimes and prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law.”
Deputy Attorney Janet Bosi presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Julia S. Glass and Deputy Bureau Chief Mark Kurzawa. Sgt. James Scott was lead detective for the Division of Criminal Justice. He was assisted by Detectives James Gallo, Mark Byrnes, and Roxanna Ordonez-Fresse.
The indictment was handed to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Hudson County, where Patel will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.