CHICAGO — Authorities say a Florida businessman convicted in a $179 million investment scheme has been arrested while trying to flee to South America using a private jet.

The Chicago Tribune reports a federal complaint shows that FBI agents arrested 33-year-old Nikesh Patel at an airport near Orlando on Saturday, three days before his sentencing hearing in Chicago. The filing says Patel told FBI agents he’d been granted asylum in Ecuador.

Patel had been free on bond. He pleaded guilty in 2016 to selling bogus loans to a Wisconsin investment company. The Tribune reports that Chicago-area school districts were among those hurt financially.

Patel faced decades in prison on the fraud charges. He now faces a new charge of flight to avoid prosecution. He’s expected to be transferred from Florida to Chicago soon.

Patel’s lawyer declined comment on Tuesday.

Information from: Chicago Tribune,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.