.

Head of Architectural Firm Once Used by School District Pleads Guilty

Pravin H. Patel's admitted to filing bad tax returns; firm was contracted by district from 1993 through 2011

The owner of a Toms River architectural firm that once served the township school district and Ocean County College admitted to filling fraudulent tax returns for his business, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Tuesday.

Pravin H. Patel, 67, of Toms River, entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to charges that he falsely passed off hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses as business deductions. The charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, according to Fishman.

Patel is founder and president of Pravin H. Patel Associates, the firm that once served as the Toms River Regional School’s engineer, architect and planner. District officials said the firm was in place from 1993 through the last day of the fiscal year 2011, when a pool of seven engineers were contracted by the district. The district in 2013 approved the use of a single engineer, Maser Consulting.

"Among the personal expenses which Patel admitted to improperly using to reduce the tax liability owed by his company was $112,650 in payments for renovations on his personal residence in 2006," Fishman said in a statement.

"Patel also admitted that the corporate tax return for the year ending in March 2007 improperly included more than $8,200 in expenses related to a personal country club membership and associated fees, as well as numerous personal expenses paid through a corporate credit card. Patel admitted that the corporate tax return for the year ending in March 2007 included false deductions of more than $145,000 and that the tax loss over a four-year period for which he is criminally liable totaled $63,815."

Patel's Toms River home was surrounded by law enforcement in July 2011, though authorities then declined to comment on what they were doing there.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 4, 2013, according to Fishman.

Larry February 26, 2013 at 08:24 PM
So another Mike Ritaco flunky took money and did not want to report it. Anyone that worked for Ritaco as a contractor is busted.
Slippery Slope February 26, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Why are crooked politicians like Tom Daschel, Charlie Rangel and Bob Menendez allowed to amend and refile their fraudulent tax returns without being convicted? Politicians amend and resubmit false claims 10- 20 years after original file dates and nothing happens to them. They just repay the back taxes and dont even pay interest penalties.
Bowie Thelonius February 26, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Is there anyone connected to Ocean County government who ISN'T corrupt? This is getting ridiculous!
mjmjr February 27, 2013 at 12:43 AM
AND THE ANSWER IS NO NO NO NO NO THERE ALL CROOKS
ed crowley February 27, 2013 at 12:47 AM
He commits four crimes and pleads to one count.
Gettig February 27, 2013 at 12:50 AM
You all are missing the entire point here. Who did Patel work for? Its all about Ritacco, he made a deal cause he took money working for the district with Ritaco.He did not work for IBM and has to redo his taxes , he took money from Mr Ritaco when he worked for over 10 years at TR schools......Ritacoo stole 2 mil from us and Pratel was part of it.
avonladysd February 27, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Slippery slope is right, we see reports of all these politicians and millionaires allowed to adjust their returns and we try to portrait this guy as a big criminal because no connection could be find with Rittaco or Insurance broker
jamadarhkd February 27, 2013 at 02:29 AM
This looks like nothing but witch-hunt. They could not link him to Rittaco so went after him this way. Slippery slope is right, they allow all crook politicians and even Mitt Romney to adjust their returns and go after small guys as if they are big criminals
sonny February 27, 2013 at 02:46 AM
what about all the good work he did for school system ,we had zero tax increases for few years .
jamadarhkd February 27, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Gettig, you are missing not only a point here but lot more and totally ignorant of facts. Somebody just brainwashed you to write this comment without reading the story. If there was a Rittaco connection he would be spending time with Rittaco and his cronies by now. Read...did you find word "corruption" anywhere in the story..just shut up
mjmjr February 27, 2013 at 08:00 AM
ARE YOU FOR REAL,YOU MUST BE HIS COUSIN
Tired of the status quo February 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Here we go lets start to connect the dot here. Michael J. Ritaccco (at the time) Super. of the Toms River Regional Schools requests that Pravin Patel's architectural firm gets hired to do work for the district. Dig a little deeper and we find that above mentioned Michael J. Ritacco owner of a construction company MJRITT uses same architectural firm. Said Architectural firm then draw up plans for homes that were being built by MJRITT. Then Patel Architectural Firm draws plans for other projects. Fast forward to Intermediate South not only does said architectural firm draw up plans for the new school they are also the overseer's of the project. Let us not forget that Mr. Patel was also given FREE office space at 1144 Hooper Avenue. Which for those of you who do not know is the Corporate Office of the Toms River Regional School District. So, not only did the taxpayers pay Mr. Patel for his services they also paid for his office space! Isn't that generous of them! I think of the money that could have been saved and put into the classroom if this district used people who had morales!
Pat February 27, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Oh My God, Its all about him working for Ritaco and the schools. You would have to be Patel to think not. That is why they raided his home right after Ritacoos.He worked for him!
dindak February 28, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Hang him if you found him corrupt with Ritacco. Honesty does not mean anything, you got to pay the price just for association. He took the blame, but did he file his own returns or ask his accountant to cook books for him.

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