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A former marble and granite wholesaler from Tenafly admitted in federal court on Tuesday that he cooked the books, among other measures, in a $17 million bank fraud.

Rajendra Kankariya, 61, pleaded guilty by videoconference via teleconference to his role in the scheme, during which the government said accomplices posed as customers to secure a $17 million line of credit that his company defaulted on.

Kankariya was president and part owner of Lotus Exim International Inc. (LEI), which fraudulently got the line of credit and then had it extended by fabricating or inflating many of the accounts receivable, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

Without sufficient collateral, LEI employees “with the knowledge and approval of Kankariya, created fake email addresses on behalf of LEI’s customers so they could pose as those customers and answer the victim bank’s and outside auditor’s inquiries about the accounts receivable,” Carpenito said.

“The scheme involved numerous fraudulent accounts receivable where the outstanding balances were either inflated or entirely fabricated,” the U.S. attorney said. “The scheme caused the victim bank losses of approximately $17 million.”

U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton scheduled a Jan. 18 sentencing in federal court in Newark to Kankariya’s guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution.

Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI with the investigation that led to the plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sammi Malek of his National Security Unit in Newark.

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Man attacks customers at California tea shop with blowtorch, hatchet

A deranged man attacked people with a knife, hatchet and blowtorch at a Berkeley, Calif., boba tea shop — igniting two customers hair before being subdued.

Suspect Brandon Glone, 46, of Berkeley, allegedly began Monday night’s rampage outside a pizzaria, knocking the food off the table of two men and announcing he was going to light them on fire, police said in a statement.

He allegedly sprayed them with flammable WD-40 before they ran from him, the statement said.

Then he sprayed a group of people outside a boba tea shop, using a small torch to ignite the hair of two of them, police said.

“He said something right before he sprayed, and it was kind of like an evil chuckle,” a witness who gave her name only as  Angelique told CBS News in San Francisco.

“He was holding the axe and he was like staggering around, and he was getting closer and closer and it was really scary,” she said.

As some bystanders helped put out the two men’s hair, others surrounded Glone, police said — even though by then he had pulled out a hatchet.

“I pulled him down,” said another witness, Noel Nubla, of Berkeley, who said he was also sprayed with WD-40.

“I stepped on his wrist pulled him up disarmed him [of] the knife.”

Cops arrived soon after, and arrested Glone. Police said his knapsack contained a machete, matches, lighters and several Molotov cocktails.

Glone has been charged with criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapon, and other charges.

Filed under attacks ,  Berkeley ,  california ,  9/17/20

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