Your hometown deli in Paulsboro, NJ
A former fugitive wanted for criminal stock manipulation linked to a New Jersey deli once valued at $100 million has agreed to be extradited from Thailand to the United States, Thai authorities said.
Peter Coker Jr., 54, was arrested by Thai police in the Phuket resort area last week, more than three months after he, his father, Peter Coker Sr., and an associate, James Patten, were charged in federal court in New Jersey were .
The 12-person complaint alleges financial crimes involving two publicly traded companies, hometown internationalwho only owned a modest, now-defunct, deli in Paulsboro, New Jersey, and e-wastea shell company with no assets.
Coker Jr., an American known to have lived and worked as a businessman in Hong Kong, is being held in a Bangkok jail for the next few weeks ahead of his expected extradition, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
Thai police said in a statement that Coker Jr. entered the country using a passport issued by the Caribbean island of St Kitts and Nevis. This nation is selling citizenship in exchange for investments there, the AP noted.
“Mr. Coker Jr. voluntarily agreed to be extradited to the US, which has simplified the judicial process,” Teerat Limpayaraya, a prosecutor at Thailand’s attorney general’s office, told the AP.
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“We have to complete a 30-day waiting period under Thai law before we send it back,” Teerat said.
The prosecutor also told the AP that Coker Jr. “was visibly frail when he was admitted and told us he needed medical attention for his liver condition.”
“We believe he entered Thailand with a possible plan to settle here,” Teerat said.
US prosecutors have accused the Cokers and Patten of boosting the value of shares in Hometown International and E-Waste, both of which had large market caps despite holding little or no assets to make them more attractive to private merger candidates. Both companies later found merger partners.
Coker Jr. had served as chairman of Hometown International.
While Pattan and Coker Sr. have appeared in court since their arrests, Coker Jr. was believed to have been at large until his arrest last week.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, which is prosecuting the case, confirmed Coker Jr.’s concerns in Thailand, but declined to comment further.