Claiming he was granted asylum in Ecuador, Florida man was caught at the airport with a money laundering to-do list while awaiting sentencing,
[Nikesh] Patel, of Windermere, Fla., pleaded guilty in federal court in Chicago in 2016 to five counts of wire fraud, admitting in a plea agreement with prosecutors that he sold tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent loans to an investment firm in Wisconsin and blew the cash on a lavish lifestyle and to buy hotels, court records show.
He had a money laundering to-do list when he was stopped at the Kissimmee airport while trying to flee to Ecuador,
he was carrying a document that laid out an elaborate escape plan, from applying for political asylum in Ecuador to marshaling ill-gotten assets to buy $30 million in diamonds from a merchant in Dubai.
The document, which was titled “What we are doing,” appeared to be written to an unidentified person aiding him in the escape attempt, according to the prosecution filing made last week.
“I have got my final asylum approval and need to move things along and cannot just sit around here and wait any longer,” Patel wrote. “I managed to get a few more dollars (don’t ask how) so as of today, I have a total of $35MM in ‘dirty’ money.”
The document went on to detail how Patel was finalizing the purchase of a 104-carat “fancy dark” diamond — “one of the rarest diamonds in the world and very sought after” — through a merchant he trusted in Dubai, according to the court records.
Patel’s wife and children had already fled to Ecuador after his arrest. He had obtained a new passport from a friend in India late last year and applied for political asylum in Ecuador. He used to own a hotel in Peoria.
If you’re going to be crook, Fleeing to South America? Leave the incriminating to-do list at home