Subway owner, feds reach tentative plea agreement in harboring case

jmadden@herald-leader.comMay 19, 2014 

Amrutlal "Andy" Patel

A man who was charged last year in with knowingly and willfully harboring undocumented Indian nationals employed in his restaurants has indicated that he wants to plead guilty.

According to documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Amrutlal Patel has reached "a tentative plea agreement, although negotiations with the United States regarding some of its terms continue."

Patel's attorney, Mike Murphy, confirmed that there was a tentative agreement but said details had not been solidified. He declined to comment further. Amrutlal Patel is due back in court for re-arraignment.

Patel and his wife, Dakshaben Patel, were charged in 2013 with four counts of aiding and abetting undocumented immigrants, one charge each of paying immigrant workers below the standard minimum wage and of paying less than time-and-a-half to those who worked more than 40 hours a week, and one charge of harboring an immigrant. In February, seven charges were added; they listed initials of four people whom the Patels were accused of concealing "for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain" in violation of federal law.

The Patels were freed on bond and are living at home under strict restrictions on travel and outside contact.

Dakshaben Patel's attorney, Mark Wohlander, said an agreement was close in her case but that he was not at liberty to discuss the possible plea.

Justin Madden: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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