Your Hometown Deli in Paulsboro, N.J.
A fugitive facing federal criminal stock-manipulation charges in the United States in connection with a small New Jersey deli whose parent company was once preposterously valued at $100 million has been arrested by authorities in a resort area of Thailand.
Peter Coker Jr., who last was known to be living in Hong Kong, his father and another man are charged in the case involving the deli owner, Hometown Internationaland a related shell companyE-Waste.
The Bangkok Post first reported that Coker Jr., 54, was arrested on Jan. 11 in a hotel room in the Thalang district of Phuket province, Thailand.
“I can confirm it happened,” Matt Reilly, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, told CNBC in an email Wednesday.
Coker Jr.’s father, Peter Coker Sr., 83, and a third defendant, 63-year-old James Patten, were arrested in the case in September in North Carolina. The elder Coker and Patten since then have made appearances in New Jersey federal courtmost recently Tuesday, remotely via Zoom for a hearing in the Camden courthouse.
The trio are accused of fraudulently pumping up the value of the publicly traded companies, which were being marketed as candidates for mergers with private companies.
The Bangkok Post reported that Coker Jr. was arrested pursuant to so-called red and black notices issued by the International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol.
Thai police, working with the FBI, arrested Coker Jr. after tracking him to the hotel, The Post reported.
Coker Jr. had served as chairman of Hometown International, whose sole asset for years was the Your Hometown Deli in Paulsboro, New Jersey.
His father was a major shareholder in the company, which in 2021 had a stock market capitalization of $100 million despite the deli having less than $40,000 in total annual revenue.
Prosecutors have said that the Cokers and Patten “artificially inflated” the values of Hometown International and E-Waste stock by 939% and 19,900% respectively through manipulated trades in shares.