New Jersey

$100 Million NJ Deli Scheme Leads to Fraud Charges Against Father, Son

Hometown Deli in Paulsboro, New Jersey, became famous in 2021 when someone pointed out a single deli with less than $40,000 in sales was somehow also a $100 million stock

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It seemed wildly improbable, even by the standards of the meme stock craze - a publicly traded New Jersey deli that had less than $40,000 in annual revenue and yet somehow was worth $100 million.

As it turns out, prosecutors say, there wasn't much meat on the sandwich.

A federal indictment unsealed in New Jersey on Monday charges Peter Coker Sr., Peter Coker Jr. and James Patten with securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

The Hometown Deli in Paulsboro, NJ, became instantly famous in April 2021, when hedge fund manager David Einhorn wrote about a tiny sandwich shop that was somehow worth nine figures on the stock market - mostly as a way to caution investors about the dangers of excess.

Prosecutors allege the entire thing was a years-long scheme to pump up the stock's price using a variety of methods to conceal fraudulent trades.

Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against the three men.

Patten and Coker Sr. were arrested Monday morning. Coker Jr., who the government said is based in Hong Kong, remains at large.

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