Florida Democrats Call for Rick Scott to Return Loan from Alleged Fraudster (UPDATE)

Florida Democrats Call for Rick Scott to Return Loan from Alleged Fraudster (UPDATE)
photo: Michele Eve Sandberg

Update: Rick Scott's campaign has announced that it will donate the full amount of Patel's contribution to charity.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Rick Scott has agreed to make a charitable contribution of $2,800 to offset a campaign contribution from businessman Nik Patel, who was arrested Tuesday on fraud charges.

Greg Blair, spokesman for the Scott campaign, said in an email that the campaign hasn't determined the charity that will received the money yet.

Original post: Earlier this week, the FBI busted Florida businessman Nikesh A. Patel on fraud allegations. According to the feds, Patel fraudulently sold $150 million in loans to an unidentified company in Milwaukee.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, authorities allege that 25 loans were sold to the company as being guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Oh, and Patel donated $100,000 to Rick Scott and threw the Governor a lavish fundraiser back in April. And while this has nothing to do with Patel committing fraud, it does mean that Scott is yet again connected to a bad dude.

Now, with Patel's arrest making news, the Florida Democratic Party is calling on Scott to return the hundred grand he received from the alleged fraudster.

"Rick Scott must immediately return this tainted cash," said Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant in a press release. "Rick Scott lent his name and his reputation to a suspected criminal, and in return got a six-figure check for his reelection. If Rick Scott has any respect for the people he serves and the office he holds, he will do the right thing and return the money."

On April 30, Patel's company, First Farmers Financial and Alena Hospitality, posted a photo on Facebook of him and Scott together at the bash the Orlando businessman threw for the Governor.

Florida Democrats Call for Rick Scott to Return Loan from Alleged Fraudster (UPDATE)
via Nikesh Patel's Facebook

According to state records, Patel gave Scott the hundred grand as a donation.

The 30-year old Patel had recently purchased the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Orlando, and has plans to pour in $40 million to turn it into a Renaissance Hotel by Marriott.

But that all might be in question now that he's been nicked on fraud charges.

According to the report, an affidavit from the FBI says: "Patel sold approximately 25 loans to Company A on false pretenses ... Patel submitted among other things fabricated loan guarantee forms falsely reflecting that the USDA guaranteed a portion of the loan's principal amount."

Patel's attorney is denying the charges.

As for Scott, no word from his campaign. But it does mark at least the second time in two months that he's been connected to a shady character.

In August, it was revealed that Scott had a business owner convicted of human smuggling endorsing him in a re-election ad.

Added Tant in her statement Friday: "After all, who else would know more about perpetrating fraud and being the target of federal investigations than Rick Scott?"

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter




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