NewsIndiaTimes – that’s all you need to know Community 15 News India Times January 19, 2018 By StaffWriter -NEWYORK ndian American businessman and hotelier Nik Patel of Florida, who pleaded guilty to a massive fraud of more than $179 million, was caught trying to flee the country. According to the Orlando Sentential, Patel tried to board a plane in Kissimmee on Saturday, just five days after his sen- tencing, and was headed to Ecuador. “On January 6, 2018, Patel traveled from his residence to the Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Kissimmee, Florida for the pur- pose of fleeing the United States…” prose- cutors said in a request for a warrant filed by Patrick King, assistant to U.S. Attorney in Chicago John Lausch. “Patel was in pos- session of a passport… that appeared to be issued by the Government of India.” The document doesn’t say how authori- ties were notified about Patel’s escape, but had been monitoring his actions and now faces an additional charge of flight to avoid prosecution. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Patel is accused of selling about 26 fake loans to a Milwaukee financial firm, Pennant Management. The indict- ment accuses Patel of falsely saying his loans were guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was also sued in civil court and most of his assets have become a part of a civil-court receivership. Patel had pleaded guilty more than a year ago and was free on bond while he supposedly helped the court recover money he stole. His cooperation was expected to help reduce his time in prison, but after his attempt to flee the country, he could face much more time in prison. He has had numerous sen- tencing hear- ings postponed over the past three years. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Patel was the high-rolling owner of First Farmers Financial and was buying hotels in Orlando and other cities and also invested in restaurants, including Mingo’s, a restau- rant in downtown Orlando. Investigators have recovered about $100 million by selling off Patel’s hotels, cars and other property but the damage he has cre- ated is too large with Mingo’s and Pennant Management closing almost immediately. Those who invested with Pennant have claimed losses directly tied to the Patel allegations, including the Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund, which sued the USDA for $50 million, though the USDA has denied responsibility for the fake loans. Patel is also accused of using Pennant’s money to buy five hotels and personal lux- ury items such as his $4 million house. Those hotels were auctioned off to raise $80 million and his home was sold for $3.25 million in 2015. Besides the loans to theWisconsin com- pany, Patel had also made several conven- tional loans, totaling $20 million, which were not part of the alleged USDA loan scheme. Florida Businessman Nik Patel, Guilty Of $179 Million Scam, Caught Fleeing FromUS I Sherin Mathews’ Death – India Suspends American Adoption Agency By StaffWriter T he Indian government has suspend- ed an American adoption agency for “negligence” in its assessment of Wesley and Sini Mathews, the adoptive parents of three-year-old Sherin Mathews who according to the autopsy report, died of “homicidal violence” on October 7, 2017 after she allegedly choked on milk while being “physically assisted” by her adoptive father. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi took the decision to suspend the Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) and the govern- ment has written to the Indian Embassy in the U.S. as well as the Central Authority, which is the nodal body for adoptions in the U.S. and Holt International, informing them about the decision, reported PTI. “We have suspended the operations of Holt International because we found it negligent in the assessment of the adoptive parents and also in the post placement assessment of the family,” Lt. Col. Deepak Kumar, CEO of Child Adoption Resource Authority, told PTI, adding that the deci- sion on cancelling the AFAA’s authorization will be taken after they receive detailed reports from the Indian Embassy and the Central Authority. Even the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj sought a probe into the “adoption process” after hearing of Sherin’s tragic death in October. WhileWesley is charged with injury to a child, which can be punishable up to life in prison, Sini is charged with child endan- germent or abandonment relating to the death, which can be punishable by up to two years in jail. They are both due back in court on Jan. 26 to try to regain custody of their biologi- cal 4-year-old daughter who is currently living with family in the Houston area. After the incident, Child Adoption Resource Authority has made mental well- being of NRI applicants seeking to adopt a child in India, an important criterion for determining their eligibility. ichardson Police Department Sherin Mathews By StaffWriter A n Indian-American district court judge pleaded guilty Jan. 2, the day after he was arrested for careless driving and running through a red light and charged with driving while intoxicat- ed. Ramsey County District Court Judge Gurdip Singh Atwal, (also referred to as G. Tony Atwal), was charged on Jan. 1, and pleaded guilty to DWI the next day. “I can’t express in words the remorse I feel,” Atwal is quoted saying in a twinci- news report. Atwal apologized to colleagues, and Minnesotans, saying “I’m humbled and shamed by what hap- pened,” and accepted that he made “poor decisions” and how those endangered fel- low citizens, the news report said, adding that Atwal had faced a similar charge back in 2007. A copy of Atwal’s arrest and charges as well as his official photos, was sent to News India Times by the Ramsay County Sheriff’s Office. Atwal was charged with two counts of third-degree DWI (DrivingWhile Intoxicated), careless driving and failing to stop at a STOP sign. Police found a blood- alcohol level of .17 where the allowable limit is .08, according to The judge was sentenced to 365 days of which 345 days were stayed for two years, leaving 20 days to be served since date of arrest Jan. 1. He will wear an ankle bracelet and is allowed to travel to work and back, according to The Indian-American’s case was handled by a different county judge, Hennepin County Judge Shereen M. Askalani, to avoid conflict of interest, the report said. Atwal, who is also an adjunct professor at his alma mater Mitchell Hamline School of law, was also sentenced to two years of supervised probation and a chemical dependency evaluation.Though his attorney expressed the hope that Atwal would be serving his sentence and getting back to work, reported that Ramsey County Chief Judge John Guthmann, was reviewing Atwal’s sen- tence and was not certain when the Indian-American judge would be allowed back to work. A graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Atwal was appointed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in 2016. His term expires in January 2019. Courtesy:RamseyCountySheriff’s office Ramsey County District Court Judge Gurdip Singh Atwal (G. Tony Atwal) of Minnesota, pleaded guity Jan. 2, to DWI. Judge In Minnesota Pleads Guilty To Drunk Driving