5 in NYC Diamond District Charged in Illegal Money Transfer Scheme
The men allegedly moved more than $600 million by using their 47th Street jewelry businesses as fronts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The men arrested were: Raj Vaidya, 26; Rakesh Vaidya, 51; Shrey Vaidya, 23; and Neel Patel, 26, all of Edison, New Jersey; and 57-year-old Youssef Janfar, also known as “Joe Rodeo,” of Great Neck, New York.
They are each charged with one count of operating, and aiding and abetting the operation of, an unlicensed money transmitting business.
The men are said to have illegally processed more than $600 million, according to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, using their various Diamond District businesses as fronts to conduct illegal financial transactions for customers—such as converting cash to checks or making wire transfers—in exchange for “substantial” fees.
They’ve operated numerous businesses in the Diamond District since 2019, including Arya Diamond Jewellery USA Inc. (doing business as 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 operated a company called Rodeo of NY, d/b/a Sarah Jewels, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“At times, they moved millions of dollars in cash in a single day,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “None of their companies were registered as money transmitting businesses with New York, New Jersey, or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.”
The criminal complaint detailed WhatsApp messages allegedly exchanged among the men discussing how much to charge to convert large sums of cash to checks.
The charge of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The fine could also be twice the amount of monetary gain they received or the amount a victim lost, whichever is greater.
The arrests are part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
OCDETF works to “identify, disrupt, and dismantle” high-level criminal organizations.
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