FBI agents armed with a search warrant from the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's office raided the Bethpage offices of Long Island restaurateur Harendra Singh Thursday and were seen carting away boxes of his business records, according to several sources.
A lawyer for Singh, Joseph Conway of Mineola, said two weeks ago that records of Singh's were subpoenaed last year by federal investigators.
Conway said then he did not know what the probe involved but that Singh was cooperating with federal investigators.
Conway declined to comment Thursday.
A person who answered the phone at Singh's office said he was not available, but that he would try to contact him or someone to speak on his behalf. The person said Singh generally would not have a comment.
Nellin McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the United States Attorney's office declined to comment. Federal officials have had an ongoing investigation into Singh's business activities and had previously obtained many of his business records, the sources said.
But the sources indicated that as the investigation continued, it acquired new information that called for obtaining more records, leading to Thursday's FBI raid. The sources did not say what the records involved.
Singh has not been charged with any wrongdoing, the sources emphasized.
Singh came to the United States from India in 1979 and opened his first restaurant in Bethpage in 1988. As Singh's operation expanded, he forged close ties to Nassau and Oyster Bay officials, Newsday reported.
Records obtained by Newsday showed that Singh, who has had at least one county contract and several with the Town of Oyster Bay, arranged and paid for vacation trips for County Executive Edward Mangano and his family, overlapping time with trips that Singh and his family took, Newsday has reported.
Lawyers for both Mangano and Singh acknowledge they're longtime friends. "There is absolutely no story here," Kevin Keating, a criminal defense attorney for Mangano, has said. Conway has said the two sometimes book trips and make payments for each other.
Singh has received agreements to operate the food and beverage concession at the Oyster Bay Town golf course and at Tobay Beach. Oyster Bay officials said several weeks ago that Singh was about $75,000 behind in payments he owed for the right to operate the concessions. Singh's companies are also being sued by a number of creditors for nonpayment, Newsday has reported.