The former executive, who sold $175 million in fake loans, tried to escape to Ecuador to evade conviction.
An Indian American has been slapped with a 25-year jail term after he was found impersonating as a bank executive to fund his escape to Ecuador to evade a conviction for swindling $179 million worth of fake loans to a Milwaukee investment firm.
According to the Justice Department, Nikesh Patel was the CEO of First Farmers Financial LLC from 2012 to 2014, during which the company sold close to $179 million worth fabricated loan to a Milwaukee investment firm and $20 million to another investment firm based in Tennessee.
Court documents state that during the period of defrauding, Patel created false documents in favor of his company to submit before the Milwaukee investment firm showing that his company had lent money to borrowers in Florida and Georgia.
He also made false claims that a portion of the loans were guaranteed by the federal government.
In October 2014, Patel, 30, who had then launched a hotel redevelopment company, Alena Hospitality, was arrested by federal authorities on fraud charges.
He pleaded guilty in 2015 but requested to allow him to remain free on bail till his sentencing so that he would help authorities recover funds to repay his victims.
Patel deceived the court by not making any effort to repay the defrauded; instead, he spent huge amounts on luxury trips and hosted a $30,000 birthday celebration for his one-year-old daughter.
He funded his trips and expensive events by once again involving in a swindle, posing as a VP of Banco do Brasil. Using a con name “Ron Elias,” he sold more than $19 million bogus loans to different investors in Iowa.
To add authenticity to his illicit deals, Patel created a phony website and sent emails to convince the victims that his loans were legitimate.
‘There’s a certain diabolical genius to what he did here,” Judge Charles Kocoras said at sentencing, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“It’s a little insulting,” Kocoras said adding that “His (US) citizenship was the gift of his birth, yet he’s so quick to throw it away because he doesn’t want to face the piper.”
Patel is a former executive of Fifth Third Bank, Beach Business Bank and Comerica Bank. He has also been involved in restaurant businesses, including part ownership of downtown Orlando’s Mingos.
There are also reports that Patel was a spendthrift who had an addiction to latest luxury cars. According to a Daily Mail report, the prosecutors made the court aware that he owned a Rolls Royce, a Lamborghini and other high-end cars.
He is also reportedly wore custom-made jewels and flew around the world in private jets with Panama being his favorite holyday getaway where he “blew off steam” at brothels, according to the prosecutor.
An influential political donor, Patel funded Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Florida’s Republican Party during his prime years, and both gave all of Patel’s donations to charity after the FBI booked him for fraud.
Hundreds of public school districts, parks departments and other public entities, including Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund, became the victims of Patel’s bogus loans, which had taxpayer dollars invested in Pennant through management funds.
According to the Daily Mail, after Judge Kocoras announced his 25-years prison sentence calling him “a certain diabolical genius,” a sobbing Patel reportedly told the court that “Greed and selfishness may have a short-term benefit, but in the long run it only hurts those closest to you.”