A Florida man who was arrested as part of a sex trafficking investigation that resulted in a solicitation of prostitution charge against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft plans to sue after authorities admitted they had the wrong man.
Sandipkumar Patel told reporters that he and his family suffered serious harm after he was dragged into the case that involved more than 100 arrests for alleged prostitution involving women who were allegedly trafficked for sex work.
“On February 25th I thought my life had ended,” Patel said. He and his wife are Indian immigrants. He now works two jobs, running stores in the area.
“Imagine talking to your mother and father trying to explain you are innocent. Imagine what your two little girls must be thinking and wondering. Imagine what they may be exposed to at school with their friends,” he continued. “Imagine what your wife must be feeling as she has to take the kids to school and see other parents who she may come in contact in with. Imagine having to work seeing regular customers on a regular basis who I’ve become friends with and look forward to seeing. Imagine thinking about killing yourself. This did not have to happen.”
Deputies with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said they picked up Patel because of a blue Porsche parked near one of the establishments that authorities investigated. As it turns out, Patel doesn’t own a Porsche, and officials later realized it belonged to a woman with the same last name.
His attorney, David Golden, said they plan to sue the sheriff’s office.
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s something that should have never happened,” Golden said.
In a statement to CBS12, Martin County Sheriff William D. Snyder said:
When we discovered that Mr. Patel was mistakenly identified and arrested, we personally met with him to further investigate. As a result, we notified the media and immediately began actions to pay his expenses and start the process of expunging his misdemeanor arrest record. Because Mr. Patel has obtained an attorney and announced his intentions to sue the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, we must limit further public comment.
This was part of investigations of multiple spas in South Florida in both Martin and Indian River Counties. The matter drew national attention when it was announced that Kraft was one of the individuals implicated as an alleged customer. Kraft denies any wrongdoing and his fighting the case against him.
[Image via CBS12 screengrab]