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Jersey City Fugitive Sentenced To 7 Years For Huge Shipping Scam

Rajendra Patel
Rajendra Patel Photo Credit: Attorney General's office

A 62-year-old Jersey City man who disappeared after he was indicted for massive fraud eight years ago and came back to the United States was sentenced to seven years in prison, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement.

Rajendra Patel, who was indicted in 2011 for defrauding five freight brokers out of a combined $2.6 million, was also ordered to make full restitution. He pleaded guilty in August.

The brokers, who serve as intermediaries between shippers and freight carriers, typically extend credit to shippers. Patel took advantage of this practice by building up a line of credit with the brokers and then running up huge debts. Patel initially built up the line of credit by using other shippers to send the goods.

But Patel and his co-conspirators put an unusual twist on the classic scam -- known as a "bust out" -- by having one of their shipping companies hire the brokers, and another company they controlled getting hired by the brokers to ship the goods on behalf of the first company. Doing so enabled Patel and his co-conspirators to effectively pay the brokers with their own money.

Patel and the others were able to perpetuate the scheme by moving money around between the shipping companies and among a network of relatives and others. All told, the companies, Prime Time and Diamond Freight, contracted with the brokers on more than 1,200 shipments from California to New Jersey.

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