Sept. 11, 2015 By Christian Murray
The owner of The Water’s Edge restaurant has been accused in a 13-count indictment of bribing town officials, tax fraud, defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and obstruction of justice.
Harendra Singh, who owns the Water’s Edge and several food establishments in Nassau County, faces specific charges pertaining to his marquee Long Island City restaurant.
Singh, according to the indictment, inflated the damage that the Water’ Edge sustained from Hurricane Sandy, thereby defrauding FEMA. He allegedly obtained $950,000 in federal disaster relief funds by preparing and filing false documents.
“The invoices inflated the amount of losses, often by double or triple the actual amount,” according to a statement released by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
He allegedly filed fraudulent receipts from vendors that inflated the value of the contents within the restaurant.
Employees at the Water’s Edge would not comment as to what the charges might means for the restaurant.
Singh has also been charged, in a separate scheme, of paying bribes and kickbacks to a Town of Oyster Bay (Long Island) employee to get the town to guarantee two of his loans, which he uses to fund his food businesses. Had such loans gone into default taxpayers would have been on the hook for any losses.
Singh, in another scheme, allegedly failed to report more than $17 million to the IRS between 2009 and 2014 to lower the federal taxes he and his business owed and paid.
Since the profits of those businesses flowed through to Singh as its owner, the failure to properly report the gross receipts of the businesses enabled Singh to under-report his own income on his personal income tax returns, according to the indictment.
He is also charged with evidence tampering.
Singh, who faces a life in prison, was arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. He was released on $5 million bond secured by property.
Joseph Conway, an attorney at Larusso, Conway and Bartling who is representing Singh, could not be reached for comment.