A businessman has been indicted for allegedly stealing $750,000 solicited from investors to open a World of Beer franchise in Hoboken in 2014.Nirav Patel was indicted Wednesday by a state grand jury, charged with second-degree theft by deception. After accepting $750,000 from an investment group for a share in ownership of World of Beer Hoboken, he allegedly deposited the funds into his own account to use for personal and business expenses instead.
“When New Jersey residents invest their hard-earned money, they are entitled to nothing less than a fair and honest deal,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in a statement. “We are committed to protecting investors by diligently investigating allegations of financial fraud and prosecuting dishonest operators.”
Patel was covered in H Mag, a Hoboken lifestyle magazine, in 2015, for building a “restaurant empire” that included World of Beers in New Brunswick and upstate New York, The Counter Burger in Clifton, and a Tilted Kilt restaurant in Hoboken, all of which are now defunct.
Patel was one of the defendants listed in a wage and hour suit that alleged the owners of the New Brunswick World of Beer made employees perform tasks they weren’t paid for, didn’t pay them for mandatory training, and applied “tip credit” to the employees without prior knowledge or consent. Following the suit, the owners agreed to pay $57,500 to six former employees.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Patel will be ordered to appear in court in Hudson County at a later date.
Patel’s lawyer Edward Cillick was not available for contact at press time.
Individuals who believe they have been defrauded should contact the Division of Criminal Justice toll free at 866-TIPS-4CJ.