Harendra Singh, an Indian-American businessman in Long Island, N.Y, has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice on September 9th, 2015. Several charges were unsealed against Harendra Singh, 56, of Syosset, N.Y. in federal court in Central Islip for allegedly paying bribes and kickbacks to an employee of the Town of Oyster Bay in connection with the town’s guarantees of $20 million in loans to Singh.
According to reports, the 13-count indictment accuses Singh of five counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of honest services wire fraud conspiracy, one count of federal program bribery, one count of disaster relief fraud, two counts of conspiring to defraud the United States, one count of impeding the Internal Revenue Service, one count of tampering with evidence, and one count of obstruction of justice. Singh was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson, at the United States Courthouse in Central Islip.
If convicted, Singh faces terms up to 20 years in prison for each honest services wire fraud charge and up to 10 years for the federal program bribery charge, both in connection with the Town loan scheme. If convicted of any of those charges, the government will seek to forfeit Singh’s properties which benefited from the alleged fraud.
He also faces terms of imprisonment of up to 30 years for the disaster relief fraud charge and up to five years for conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with his submitted claims for disaster relief; up to 20 years for each of the obstruction charges; up to five years for the charge of conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with his scheme to under-report gross receipts and payroll taxes; and up to three years for the charge of obstructing and impeding the due administration of the Internal Revenue Laws.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Singh owned and operated restaurants and food concessions located mainly in Nassau County, and was awarded agreements with the Town of Oyster Bay, including concession agreements to operate various food concessions within the Town.
The indictment alleges that Singh paid bribes and kickbacks to a Town employee not identified by name in the release, who in exchange helped the businessman get the Town’s guarantee of two loans totaling approximately $20 million that two of Singh’s businesses received from a private corporate financing company. As a result, if Singh’s businesses defaulted on the loans, the Town would be held liable to pay back the hefty loan.
Singh is alleged to have given the co-conspirator numerous $5,000 checks in exchange for each tranche of loan that was cleared. In addition, Singh paid one of the co-conspirator and a relative to travel to Asia a few weeks after the second loan closed, including all transportation and hotel expenses.
In addition, the indictment alleges that Singh under-reported to the IRS the true amount of money some of his businesses earned and the wages he paid his workers, to significantly reduce the amount owned in taxes.
The indictment also alleges that between October 2012 and January 2015, Singh managed to procure federal disaster relief funds by preparing and filing false documents and invoices with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, on grounds that his restaurant, The Water’s Edge, suffered losses from Hurricane Sandy. For that he received approximately $950,000 in disaster relief funds from FEMA, the indictment alleges.
Singh is charged with evidence tampering and obstruction of justice FBI Special Agents came with search warrants for his premises on August 5, 2014.