Two men arrested on charges of running an illicit cash transfer business from Greenwood have entered into plea agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mihirkumar Jayantibhai Patel will plead guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Patel, who often goes by Mike or Mihir, admitted he “conducted, controlled managed, supervised, directed or owned all or part of an ‘unlicensed money transmitting business’” in the Oct. 5 plea agreement.
The agreement notes that if Patel is not a U.S. citizen, he might be subject to deportation. No court filings detail his current residency status, but according to an affidavit filed last year, he told an FBI source he was waiting on a permanent resident card.
Patel also agreed to forfeit $4,828 that authorities seized from Patel that prosecutors hope to get through forfeiture, along with any property involved in the unlicensed money transaction business.
Anis Zakirhusain Mominn agreed Oct. 6 to plead guilty to immigrating to the country without registering with the government in exchange for prosecutors dropping the unlicensed money transmitting business count.
The immigration charge carries a prison term of up to six months, which is less time than he’s spent in jail awaiting trial. He could also face a fine of as much as $1,000.
Patel could enter a guilty plea as soon as Oct. 22, when he is set for a pretrial hearing, while Momin’s change of plea hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2. Both men pleaded not guilty during arraignment last year.
In August 2019, FBI and Homeland Security agents descended on Greenwood County as they raided Dairy Queen and Patel’s house in Hunter’s Creek in conjunction with conducting a search of an Orangeburg convenience store.
Federal documents connected the residence and restaurant to a currency business that moved money between India and the U.S.
A source told agents Patel had boasted about having trash bags full of cash at his house and did $1 million in business a month, while Momin reported having $200,000 in an unlocked safe at Dairy Queen.
During their searches, authorities seized $4,828 from Patel.
No one has been charged in connection with the raid at Quick Pantry of Orangeburg, which sought evidence of harboring aliens, unlawful employment of aliens and conspiracy.
Patel was released on $250,000 bail while no bond has been set for Momin, who remains in custody. A photo of Momin was not immediately available.