NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A federal judge denied bail to Hamlet Peralta – a former West Harlem businessman – charged in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme, and whom prosecutors say is linked to an ongoing police corruption investigation.
Peralta was arrested in Macon, Georgia in April and has been in jail since then.READ MORE: New Jersey Senator Says COVID Survivors Should Enjoy Same Benefits As Fully Vaccinated People
Prosecutors said he went to Georgia to avoid the FBI who wanted to speak with him about the NYPD probe.
His lawyers claim prosecutors are punishing Peralta because he isn’t talking. He said Peralta went to Georgia to work as a contractor.READ MORE: Hispanic Heritage Month: Port Chester Is Westchester County's First Majority-Hispanic Municipality
“I feel this bail is disproportionate and punitive,” attorney Caesar DiCastro told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.
Peralta was broke after his restaurant, the Hudson River Cafe, went under.
The restaurant was once a cop hangout, and prosecutors allege that high ranking police officers referred people to Peralta’s Ponzi scheme and traveled with him to the Dominican Republic.MORE NEWS: De Blasio Says NYC Ready To Administer COVID Vaccine Booster Shots Once FDA Approved
One of the victims of the alleged Ponzi scheme is Jona Rechnitz, who has been named as a cooperating witness in the Norman Seabrook case, according to published reports.