A Caseyville businessman is charged with five felonies ranging from soliciting a child to providing his hotel as a place for prostitution services and other illegal activity.
Popatlal S. Patel, who owns the Rodeway Inn at 8950 Tucker Dr. in Caseyville, was charged by St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly with indecent solicitation of a child, money laundering, two counts of promoting prostitution/advanced prostitution and maintaining a public nuisance.
The charges came after several months of investigation when agents with the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southern Illinois raided Rodeway Inn mid-morning on Tuesday.
The arrest warrant said Patel “knowingly solicited an individual whom he believed to be a child under the age of 17 with the intent of committing criminal sexual abuse.”
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Patel, 58, also known as “Pete Patel,” was also charged with money laundering because he allegedly knew that the money, which was not more than $10,000 came from “promoting prostitution and was criminally derived property,” the arrest warrant said.
The arrest warrant outlines the following:
▪ On Feb. 18, Patel, acting in his capacity as president, shareholder and manager of Rodeway Inn, rented a room at an hourly rate to a confidential source and an unidentified Illinois state trooper, who was acting in an undercover capacity, according to police. Patel had been informed that the room would be used for prostitution. He also agreed to be paid with proceeds from the acts of prostitution after it was complete.
▪ On March 16, Patel rented a room, at an hourly rate, to a confidential source and the undercover state trooper after he was informed that the room was going to be used for prostitution. And he agreed to be paid with proceeds from the act of prostitution.
▪ On May 5, Patel rented a room at an hourly rate to a confidential source and the undercover state trooper, knowing that the room would be used for prostitution purposes. Patel again agreed to be paid with proceeds from the prostitution. Patel took the money paid by undercover police and placed it into the cash register at his business with the rest of the money he collected for renting rooms at Rodeway.
▪ On May 9, the same situation occurred between Patel, the undercover state trooper and Patel’s friend. Patel offered to arrange a sexual act between members of an unspecified wedding party and a person he believed to be 15-years-old. This person was also a law enforcement official acting in an undercover capacity.
▪ On May 10, Patel offered to participate in a sexual act with a female that he believed to be 15 years old, who was a law enforcement officer working undercover.
Patel could not be reached for comment.
Joe Beliveau, director of MEGSI, said the investigation at Rodeway began approximately six months ago.
Patel’s bond was set at $200,000. He posted it and was released from the St. Clair County Jail on Thursday.
As a result of the alleged illegal activity that Patel was involved in at Rodeway Inn, St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly is seeking to abate what he is calling a “public nuisance.”
Kelly is asking a judge to close the business and order all the fixings connected to it moved out of the building.
“Irreparable injury, loss or damage will result to the people of the state of Illinois if the defendants are allowed to continue the aforementioned course of action,” Kelly wrote in the petition document to the courts to get an injunction against the business.
Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503