Two Greenwood men arrested last week by federal authorities during raids at Dairy Queen and a Hunter’s Creek residence waived a preliminary hearing.
While appearing in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges on Tuesday, the men — Anis Momin and 39-year-old Mihirkumar “Mike” Jayantibhai Patel — decided not to hear what evidence the FBI has against them and said they needed a Gujarati language interpreter for future hearings. Each faces one count of running an unlicensed money transmitting business, aiding and abetting.
In charging documents, Momin was referred to by an alias, Eddie Patel, because officials did not yet know his name.
Hodges set a $250,000 secured bond for Patel, who would be under electronic monitoring at his expense if he posts bail before trial. He would also have a curfew set by the U.S. Parole Office. Momin waived a bond hearing and remains in custody.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Patel was at the Lexington County jail. Momin wasn’t listed as being at either the Lexington or Richland county jail. A booking photo was not immediately available.
The men were arrested Aug. 21 while FBI and Homeland Security agents raided Patel’s 2,700-square-foot house on Oakmonte Circle as well as Greenwood’s Dairy Queen.
The charges come after a 17-month investigation that authorities say the pair “participated in (an) unlicensed money transfer by receiving a specified amount of Indian Rupees in India and providing a Confidential Source a specified amount of U.S. Dollars in South Carolina.”
In an affidavit, the FBI says Patel told an informant he kept trashbags full of money at his house, showed off thousands of dollars in cash at a temple and boasted of a doing $1 million in money transfer business a month.
Momin told the informant he had $200,000 in an unlocked safe at Dairy Queen, which he said he partially owned, the document said.
The source told the FBI that Momin was likely in the U.S. illegally.
While the affidavit said Momin met the informant at Dairy Queen and received $20,000 from him, Dairy Queen manager Saif Momin said his business was not involved in any illegal activity.