Peter Coker Jr. (left) is issued a search warrant by police at his villa on the resort island of Phuket in southern Thailand, January 11, 2023.
Royal Thai Police Crime Suppression Division | AP
Newark, New Jersey – ex fugitive in securities scam case containing new jersey The deli company, once valued at $100 million, renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2019, prosecutors said Thursday. judge deny him bail.
Peter Coker Jr. “posed a significant risk of absconding and … no conditions or combination of conditions could guarantee his appearance in future litigation.” letter From the U.S. Department of Justice to Federal Magistrate Edward Keel.
In the same letter, prosecutors said Coker Jr. “stood to make tens of millions of dollars” from a desired reverse merger of deli companies — a year in which the stock price rose significantly.
“And the only reason the defendants and their co-conspirators failed to achieve their ultimate goal of a reverse merger was a negative news story exposing their fraud,” the letter said. said to Keel.
In 2021, CNBC published dozens of articles revealing frowned upon consulting deals, troubled legal histories, and other issues related to those associated with deli companies.
Coker Jr.’s attorneys said in Thursday’s filing that the Hong Kong businessman renounced his US citizenship “primarily for economic reasons and in recognition of his personal and professional life.” said it was.
Coker Jr. handed over sea bream Last week, he, who has been in prison since then, appeared in Newark federal court on Thursday afternoon, where his father, Peter Coker Sr., and a third man were also charged.
But he was never brought from the holding area to court where his parents were waiting.
Instead, the start of the hearing was delayed by two hours after the judge, prosecutors, and Coker Jr.’s attorneys first learned there was a hold from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. agency.
Such detainees are standard in the United States when noncitizens are turned over for criminal prosecution.
During the delay, Coker Jr.’s attorney met with him and spoke with the prosecutor.
Peter Coker Sr. and his wife Susan Coker in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, March 15, 2023.
Dan Mangan | CNBC
Kiel ended up on the bench and started the hearing. Coker Jr.’s attorneys said they told the judge they were looking for an attorney to represent him in connection with the ICE detainee.
The ICE hold filed when Coker Jr. landed at New York’s JFK International Airport last week could keep Coker Jr. in jail even if bail is granted in the criminal case.
In a letter seeking Coker Jr.’s detention, prosecutors said he was able to raise funds overseas, had foreign citizenship, had lived abroad in Hong Kong for 30 years, and had been convicted. He cited the maximum 20-year prison term he could face if convicted. I fear that he will escape charges.
“There is no evidence more convincing than the defendant’s own words,” the prosecutor wrote.
They quoted Coker Jr.’s June 5, 2019 legal statement, saying, “I was born and raised in the United States, but moved to Hong Kong in July 1992 for career reasons to reflect on my roots and Having established an extensive social and family life, I have no intention of returning to live or work in the United States, so I have decided to renounce my American citizenship.”
At his arraignment last week, Coker Jr.’s attorneys secured his bail in the case against all the money he has, about $4 million, and his parents’ North Carolina home. He claimed to be ready.
Coker Jr., Coker Sr., and James Patten were indicted in a Sept. 26 indictment for plotting to artificially inflate the price of publicly traded shares. Hometown Internationaland a related shell company, E-Waste, are intended to increase the attractiveness of private companies as merger partners.
Elders Coker and Patten were arrested in North Carolina and later released on bail of $100,000 each, while Coker Jr. was found by police in a Thai resort in January and remained there until his arrest. had been on the run for several months.
Coker Jr. had traveled there on passport from the Caribbean island of St Kitts and Nevis, where he holds citizenship.
In a letter to Keel on Thursday, Coker Jr.’s attorney claimed he was staying in Phuket, Thailand, after learning of his charges because he was too ill to travel.
Coker Jr. claimed he was being treated for cirrhosis and hypoxemia prior to his arrest.
“Mr. Coker’s appearance in the U.S. would likely have occurred sooner had it not been for the serious health problems he faced in the period following the opening of the indictment against him,” his attorneys argued in the filing. .
“Mr. Coker preferred to seek treatment in his local community in Thailand rather than immediately surrender to authorities and risk being flown to the United States against doctors’ advice.”
Hometown Deli, Paulsboro, New Jersey
Mike Curia | CNBC
The indictment alleges that the stock price of Hometown, which owned only a small loss-making store called Your Hometown Deli, rose more than 900% as a result of the alleged scheme. E-Waste’s stock price jumped about 20,000%. The deli, which served Italian sables and cheesesteaks in Paulsboro, a small New Jersey town across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, has since closed.
Both companies publicly denied large market valuations after CNBC revealed legal issues surrounding people associated with the company, including Coker Sr.
The young Coker served as chairman of Hometown International for some time.
Gabrielle Vonrouge reported from Newark and Dan Mangan from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
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