NJ resident was the former Treasurer of the Gujarati organization.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: After being arrested back in October for allegedly embezzling more than $85,000 from a Gujarati organization, Girishcha Patel has been indicted and formally charged for stealing exactly $85,844.
Patel, a 59 year-old resident of Franklin Township, New Jersey, was the treasurer of the Federation of Gujarati Associations in North America (FOGANA) from 2004 to 2012. From January of 2006 to March of 2012, he allegedly stole over $75,000 from the organization’s bank accounts, and continued to steal around $10,000 more for a year and a half after vacating the position.
Police caught wind of Patel’s activities when they were notified by FOGANA in January of this year. By issuing subpoenas on bank records and statements, police were able to gather evidence against Patel and make a case. Authorities also got hold of communications Patel made with others in FOGANA, explaining that he had taken the money for personal reasons but had every intention of paying it back when he could.
Patel’s indictment came after a review of falsified bank statements and financial reports, a fake bank account that was apparently opened by Patel, and the aforementioned email communiques in which he admitted to having taken the money.
Patel was arrested on October 21 “without incident,” and was later let out of Somerset County Jail after posting a $75,000 bail. Patel was charged with second-degree theft.
FOGANA was founded in 1980 as “a common platform to sustain and perpetuate the cultural heritage of Gujarat, India.” It is meant to help bring Gujaratis together from all corners of the US.
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