Police lights

Duluth hotel developer Rajesh C. “R.C.” Patel is headed to federal prison for ripping off an investment partner.

Patel, CEO of Diplomat Companies, was sentenced to six months followed by two years of supervised release in U.S. District Court in Nashville, according to court records.

Authorities previously said the 56-year-old man paid restitution to the victim, who had been roped into a deal to buy the mortgage for a hotel in Atlanta from the FDIC.

Before the sentencing hearing last Wednesday, Judge Aleta A. Trauger received a letter from “Indian Association Atlanta” calling the defendant a “thief, crook and a very selfish person.”

“We believe in America and came here to make our life better,” the note went on. “We have complete trust and faith in American system. Please get and do justice for us. This man should realize and feel the pain. Hopefully then he will stop ruining people’s life.”

Patel admitted to taking $500,000 from a Brentwood, Tenn. investor who wanted to kick in on a $3.75 million bid on the hotel, U.S. Attorney David Rivera said last year after Patel pleaded guilty.

“The bid submitted by Patel was not the winning bid and Patel instead used these funds to pay a debt arising from an unrelated transaction,” a news release from Rivera’s office said. “Patel also admitted making misrepresentations to the investor regarding the outcome of the mortgage auction and concealing the fact that he used the investor’s funds for unrelated purposes.”

Sentencing documents show the defendant was sentenced on two counts of a 10-count indictment; eight were dismissed.

Patel’s firm, based in DeKalb County, deals with hotel companies including Holiday Inn, Ramada, LaQuinta, Red Roof, Motel Six and Days Inn, according to its website. One “successful project” listed is Holiday Inn on Sugarloaf Parkway.

Previously, Patel and his brother Mukesh “Mike” Patel were the chief shareholders in Haven Trust Bank, which failed in December 2008, according to news reports.

R.C. Patel is set to report to federal custody at 2 p.m. on May 18.