|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that two men were convicted at trial today of stealing $175,000 by brokering the sale of a gas station in South Brunswick and lying to the purchaser about the price set by the sellers.
Shahid Javed, 29, of Matawan, and Du Kang, 31, of Perth Amboy, were found guilty by a Middlesex County jury of charges of second-degree conspiracy, second-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. The verdict followed a five-day trial before Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus. Deputy Attorney General Thomas Clark tried the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
The state presented testimony and evidence at trial that the victim was introduced to Javed and Kang after making inquiries about purchasing a gas station. The defendants indicated that they knew a father and son who were selling a Delta gas station on Route 130 in the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick for $425,000. They said that because they knew the sellers, they had been able to negotiate a price of $300,000. The buyer understood he was not buying the real estate or equipment, only the right to lease the property for a monthly rental and operate the business as his own. In reality, the owners were selling the business for $125,000 and signed a letter of intent with Kang to sell it for that price.
Javed and Kang pressured the victim to act quickly and never allowed him to meet the sellers. They altered the two-page letter of intent by replacing the first page with one that listed the price as $300,000. They ultimately stole the difference between the $300,000 paid by the buyer and the $125,000 the sellers received. The defendants initially said they would run the gas station in partnership with the victim, helping him pay rent and other expenses, but they soon bailed out. The victim later spoke to the sellers, who had become his landlords, and said he thought he paid too much for the gas station in light of what he was earning. The sellers then alerted him that he had been tricked. The victim previously sued the defendants and secured a judgment for $175,000, but they have not paid him.
Judge Pincus scheduled sentencing for Javed and King for May 12. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Deputy Attorney General Clark was assisted at trial by Detective Benjamin Kukis, who was the lead investigator. Detective Kukis conducted and coordinated the investigation with former Lt. James MacInnes and Deputy Attorney General Sarah Lichter.