A federal judge Wednesday set a Jan. 9 trial date for prominent Long Island restaurateur Harendra Singh, charged with numerous crimes including bribing a former Oyster Bay deputy town attorney.
But Singh’s attorney, Anthony La Pinta, suggested that a trial might not be necessary, telling U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein that there are “ongoing discussions to settle the case … still ongoing.”
La Pinta also said in court that he is preparing a new bail application in the hopes of getting Singh released from jail, because of personal family reasons. La Pinta declined to comment after the hearing in federal district court in Central Islip, as did Eastern District prosecutor Catherine Mirabile.
When Singh was arrested in September on a 13-count indictment, six of the counts accused Singh of paying a bribe to a former Oyster Bay deputy town attorney to get an “indirect guarantee” of $32 million in loans for his businesses, including food concessions he ran at town beaches and a town golf course.
Other charges included defrauding the Internal Revenue Service by not reporting millions of dollars in wages paid to employees of his restaurants, and fraudulently collecting almost $1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That alleged crime refers to Singh collecting the money for falsely claiming his Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City was damaged during superstorm Sandy.
Singh has been held without bail since December when federal prosecutors accused him of violating conditions of his release by fraudulently trying to get a new $148,000 loan.
An attorney for Singh, Joseph Conway of Mineola, said at the time that the government’s prosecution is an attempt to get his client to provide information against prominent politicians with whom he is friends.
Newsday has reported on the close relationship between Singh and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. Mangano has denied their friendship involved any improprieties.