Five Men Charged With Using New York Diamond District Companies As Front To Illegally Move More Than $600 Million
NEWARK, NJ. – Five men who work in New York City’s Diamond District were arrested today and charged with illegally processing more than $600 million through unlicensed money transmitting businesses, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division Cheryl Ortiz and U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Raj Vaidya, 26; Rakesh Vaidya, 51; Shrey Vaidya, 23; and Neel Patel, 26, all of Edison, New Jersey; and Youssef Janfar, aka “Joe Rodeo,” 57, of Great Neck, New York, are each charged by complaint with one count of operating and aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. The defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel in Newark federal court and were released on unsecured bond.
Since 2019, Raj Vaidya, Rakesh Vaidya, Shrey Vaidya, and Patel have operated numerous purported diamond, gold, and jewelry companies in New York City’s Diamond District, including Arya Diamond Jewellery USA Inc., d/b/a “Karats & Carats,” Diamspark LGD LLC, Royal Diamonds LLC, Raj Gold and Diamond LLC, Royal Arya Jewellery Inc, and Raj Gold and Diamond Inc. Janfar also purportedly operated companies in the Diamond District, including Rodeo of NY, d/b/a “Sarah Jewels.” The defendants used these and other entities as fronts to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal financial transactions for customers – including converting cash to checks or wire transfers – in exchange for substantial fees. At times, they moved millions of dollars in cash in a single day. None of their companies were registered as money transmitting businesses with New York, New Jersey, or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The charge of operating and aiding and abetting the operation of an illegal money transmitting business carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain that any persons derived from the offense or of any pecuniary loss sustained by any victims of the offense, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins in Newark; special agents and task force officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Ortiz in Newark; and special agents of Homeland Security Investigations Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel; with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the Justice Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department, the Morristown Police Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General, and the New York City Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.