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Oct. 19, 2011

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Federal Jury Convicts Second Defendant in Interstate Robbery Scheme

HOUSTON – A Florida resident who, along with a reputed mafia enforcer, traveled from New Jersey to Houston in order to obtain money from a Houston businessman has been convicted by a federal jury, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris. The jury returned its verdicts today after three days of trial and approximately one hour of deliberation.

Siddartha Oberoi, 36, who previously resided in Tampa, Fla., was convicted of one count of interference with interstate commerce and one count of conspiring to interfere with interstate commerce. The evidence showed that, in early 2008, a company owned by Oberoi known as Alfa Enterprises entered into a scrap metal transaction with a Houston businessman. Oberoi’s company intended to sell the scrap metal, which originated from a producer in Trenton, N. J., to customers in India. 

Oberoi’s company purchased more than a quarter-million dollars worth of scrap metal from the Houston businessman. Oberoi’s company was then rebuffed after the Indian customer declared the product to be of poor quality and refused to pay. An associate introduced Oberoi to co-defendant Steven T. Carr, 40, who accompanied Oberoi to meet with the scrap metal producer in Trenton. After being turned away, Carr and Oberoi traveled to Houston on May 7, 2008, to confront the businessman at his office. During the confrontation, Carr and Oberoi assaulted the businessman by hitting him and threatening to assault him with a large padlock. The two men then forced the businessman, who had only $37,000 in his bank account, to write six checks totaling $275,000. Carr cashed his check for $25,000 the next day at a Wells Fargo branch located in Houston before returning to New Jersey.

Previously on bond, Oberoi was taken into custody following the verdicts where he will remain pending sentencing. Sentencing is set for Feb. 3, 2011, at which time Oberoi faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, a $250,000 fine and a three-year-term of supervised release for each count of conviction.

Carr was convicted on Nov. 18, 2010, by a Houston jury of the same two counts. On March 25, 2011, Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. sentenced Carr to 87 months imprisonment and also ordered him to pay $175,000 in restitution. Following his release from prison, Carr was ordered to serve a three-year-term of supervised release.

The matter was investigated by agents assigned to the FBI’s Organized Crime Strike Force. Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hileman and David Searle tried both cases.