Five Indian Americans held for illegally moving more than $600 million through unlicensed businesses


Five Indian American men who work in New York City’s Diamond District were arrested and charged with illegally processing more than $600 million through unlicensed money-transmitting businesses, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on September 7.

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, have been charged 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.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, 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 is accused of operating 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 U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey said in a press release.

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.