Peter Coker Jr., left, is issued search warrants from police at his villa on the southern resort island of Phuket, Thailand, Jan. 11, 2023.
Crime Suppression Division, Royal Thai Police | AP
CAMDEN, N.J. — The previous fugitive on the heart of a securities fraud case involving a $100 million New Jersey deli was ordered held with out bail Monday as a federal choose dominated he’s a severe flight threat.
A Justice of the Peace choose had accepted Peter Coker Jr.’s launch on a $1.5 million bond in late March, however he remained in an Essex County jail as prosecutors appealed the ruling.
Throughout a listening to Monday in federal courtroom in Camden, New Jersey, and in motions filed earlier than the courtroom, prosecutors argued Coker Jr. needs to be held pending trial as a result of he had renounced his U.S. citizenship, had “intensive” hyperlinks to overseas international locations and owned greater than $3 million in belongings.
Decide Christine O’Hearn sided with the federal government. She repeatedly famous that Coker Jr., who had been residing in Phuket, Thailand, for the previous 12 months and a half, had made no effort to contact the authorities to show himself in after he discovered he’d been indicted in September.
She stated Coker Jr. was solely within the U.S. to reply the fees towards him as a result of federal authorities ultimately tracked him all the way down to Phuket and extradited him to the U.S.
Coker Jr., who was smiling as he was led into courtroom clad in a yellow jail jumpsuit, did not make formal feedback to the choose.
The 53-year-old Coker Jr., his father, Peter Coker Sr., and a 3rd man, James Patten, have been charged in a 12-count indictment for securities fraud and conspiracy for allegedly concocting a scheme to inflate the inventory costs of two corporations, Hometown Worldwide and E-Waste.
On the time of the alleged actions, the corporations’ market capitalizations exceeded $100 million every despite the fact that Hometown’s solely asset was a small deli in Paulsboro, New Jersey, that made no cash and E-Waste was a shell firm, in response to prosecutors.
Coker Jr.’s protection lawyer, John Azzarello, argued his shopper had made no efforts to cover whereas in Phuket. He additionally stated Coker Jr. had not modified his identify or made different makes an attempt to evade seize from authorities after studying in regards to the prices towards him.
When O’Hearn questioned why Coker Jr. did not attempt to contact the federal government or flip himself in after he discovered he had been indicted, Azzarello defined that his shopper had been hospitalized with cirrhosis and hepatitis.
There was “worry and concern” that if Coker Jr. turned himself in to Thai authorities, he could be compelled to get on a greater than 25-hour airplane experience to the U.S., Azzarello stated. He added that Coker Jr.’s native docs had suggested him to not journey due to his well being points.
Assistant U.S. Legal professional Shawn Barnes acknowledged that Coker Jr. had well being issues, however stated officers might have made preparations to make sure his security whereas touring.
O’Hearn determined Monday there have been no circumstances that would fairly guarantee Coker Jr.’s return to courtroom. She agreed that he was a flight threat as a result of he’s not a U.S. citizen, doesn’t have vital ties to the U.S. and isn’t at present employed, amongst different causes.
Calling Coker Jr. a “subtle defendant” who’s “very conversant in worldwide journey,” O’Hearn stated her “principal concern” was that he did not try to give up after he discovered he was indicted. She additionally cited his belongings and “little if any” household ties.
“I’m shocked,” Azzarello advised CNBC of O’Hearn’s determination after the listening to.
He stated he wasn’t but certain about his subsequent transfer and whether or not he would suggest a special bail bundle or try to enchantment the choose’s ruling.
After the choose delivered her ruling, Coker Jr.’s mom cried within the gallery and out of doors of the courtroom. She and her husband, the elder Coker, declined to remark to CNBC.