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Indian American indicted for stealing trust's fund

New York, Dec 13 (IANS) A former treasurer of a Gujarati community non-profit association in the US has been indicted for allegedly stealing $85,844 over a more than six-year period from its bank accounts.

Girishcha Patel, 59, a resident of Franklin township of Somerset county in New Jersey and a former treasurer of the Federation of Gujarati Associations in North America (FOGANA) is accused of misappropriating the funds from the bank accounts of the association, the Star Ledger reported Thursday.

In January this year, the FOGANA lodged a complaint with the Somerset prosecutor’s office special investigations unit that Patel misappropriated funds from the cultural organisation’s bank accounts when he was treasurer from 2004 through 2012.

Patel withdrew more than $75,000 in funds from the FOGANA bank accounts between January 2006 and March 2012 without the organisation’s permission, while he was treasurer and had sole access to the accounts.

Patel was arrested Oct 21 and later released on bail.

He was indicted on the basis of bank records, tampered bank statements, falsified financial reports, a phony bank account number and email communications.

The FOGANA was formed in 1980 with the aim to “bring all the Gujarati people living in North America closer together by promoting a common platform to sustain and perpetuate the cultural heritage of Gujarat, India”.

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