Foiled Plans

Close up wooden toy house with Woman signs a purchase contract or mortgage for a home, Real estate concept.

A federal probation officer had contacted Nikesh Patel to remind him of his sentencing for a $179 million mail fraud scheme, scheduled for January 2, 2016, in the Northern District of Illinois. Patel, who was home in Peoria, Arizona while on bond, said he knew about it but hadn’t made reservations to fly to Chicago yet. He did brag, however, that he was busy using his business skills to get the funds to repay the money he owed in restitution. Well, this federal officer was no dummy. Twenty-four hours later, the FBI found Patel in the Kissimmee, Florida airport with a fake passport, $20 million, and a one-way ticket to Ecuador.

It turns out, while awaiting his sentencing for his first scheme, Patel devised a new scheme with the goal to fully finance a retirement in Ecuador. Patel’s new fraud scheme involved three parts; Patel would first fabricate fraudulent loan documents that appeared to be approved by a bank in Miami. Although the bank existed, Patel listed a fictitious identity used to perpetrate the scheme. Patel would then apply to the USDA Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program in order for the USDA to guarantee the fake loans. Authorities said Patel then sold the guaranteed portion of the fake loans to the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation.

It seems incredibly complicated, but the scheme generated almost $20 million in proceeds. Patel was plotting to launder the money from the second scheme by buying $30million in diamonds from Dubai, and then flee to Ecuador to seek asylum. Patel reportedly said that diamonds would be ‘the cleanest way to do the transaction, kill any trace, and cover everyone.’ Patel allegedly had all the plans in place for a new life in Ecuador, including a million-dollar home, luxury vehicles, and English-language school for his four daughters.

Patel is currently doing twenty-five years in federal prison for his first fraud conviction. He now faces at least an additional twenty-five more for the second!

Excellent job by the FBI in foiling Patel’s escape plans!

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Florida man pleads guilty in $20M fraud scheme” published by WFLA on march 6, 2023

A 38-year-old Florida man pleaded guilty to fraudulently taking nearly $20 million while on federal pretrial release for a similar crime. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Officer for the Middle District of Florida, 38-year-old Nikesh Patel pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with 13 counts of money laundering, wire fraud, and related charges.

Court documents showed that Patel was charged in 2014 for committing a $179 million fraud scheme in Illinois. After his arrested, authorities said Patel posted bond.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.