Civil Charges For Torkelsen
Those watching the U.S. Department of Justice’s case
against Milberg Weiss lawyers have had their eye on John
Torkelsen, the former expert witness from Princeton who is
under pressure to testify against his former employer.
Torkelsen is currently serving a 70-month prison sentence
on one criminal charge of making a false statement to the
Small Business Administration.
On December 29 the justice department followed up the
criminal suit with a civil suit against Torkelsen, who had
had an office on Vaughn Drive. This suit also names
The charges include defrauding the SBA’s Small Business
Administration’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)
program to the tune of $32 million. A press release
alleges this case represents the largest fraud ever
perpetrated on the half-century old SBIC program, which
tries to provide venture capital for start-up and growing
businesses. As a "fund of funds," the SBIC program
certifies private funds, such as Torkelsen’s Acorn
Technology, to make investment decisions.
Prosecutors say the bank overstated the fund’s assets when
Acorn Technology took out a $2 million loan. Sovereign
Bank, in its defense, has pointed out that the alleged
false statements were made by Main Street Bank, a company
it bought at a later date.
According to the complaint, Torkelsen and two other
individuals (California-based Richard Propper and
Connecticut-based Daniel Beharry) "violated the conflict
of interest and management fee rules of the SBIC program
by engaging in multiple secret transactions that funneled
government money into companies controlled by Propper and
Beharry or Torkelsen and his family."
Torkelsen allegedly used funds from Acorn Technology for
companies in which he had an equity position, SemiSystems
and VeriVoice (U.S. 1, March 27, 2002). Propper and
Beharry supposedly had similar conflicts of interest. All
three took "excessive" management fees, according to the
complaint, which was filed in the Eastern District of
Under the False Claims Act, the government could recover
up to three times the amount of its losses plus civil
penalties. For the criminal case, Torkelsen had been
ordered to pay more than $1.9 million in restitution.
Torkelsen’s District of Columbia-based attorney, Ralph
Caccia, was not available for comment.
Fabulous Fare, 51 Everett Drive, Suite B-60, West Windsor
08550; 609-683-4445; fax, 609-683-4441. John and Susan
Panzica, owners. Home page: www.myfabulousfare.com
John and Susan Panzica expanded their seven-person food
service business from their home in Princeton to 1,800
square feet at Everett Drive. They sell and rent fancy
food items as frozen drinks, gourmet coffees, chocolate
fountains, and mobile expresso/cappucino stations.
Both Panzicas used to work in the telecommunications
industry. She went to Clarkson University and has her MBA
from Rochester Institute of Technology. He has an
undergraduate degree from Thomas Edison State College and
has attended Wharton executive programs.
"But we just love food," he says, telling how they started
the firm in 2003, focusing on frozen drinks. They work
with the hotels on Route 1 and with caterers such as Main
Street and Chez Alice to provide the "extras" for special
events. They also roast their own coffees, provide special
pastries, and they sell and install Bunn coffee equipment
Special Olympics New Jersey, 3 Princess Road,
Lawrenceville 08648; 609-896-8000; fax, 609-896-8040. Marc
Edenzon, president. Home page: www.sonj.org
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Sports and Training Center at
the Special Olympics New Jersey Sports Complex has been
completed. An open house will be Saturday, January 6, from
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This non-profit sports organization helps children and
adults with disabilities, including mental retardation, by
providing athletic competitions that are free to
Jay Lesser CPA PC, 9 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro
Village Center, Suite 724, Plainsboro 08536; 609-799-4435;
fax, 609-799-0170. Jay Lesser CPA, president.
Jay Lesser moved his firm from Princeton Meadows Office
Center, 666 Plainsboro Road, Building 2000, to Schalks
Crossing Road, where he has 25 percent more space; he was
assisted by John Comp of NAI Fennelly. The five-person CPA
firm has diversified accounts in various industries, and
it also does individual tax returns.
Lesser graduated from Baruch College in New York City,
Class of 1972, and after working for various small CPA
firms he went into the broadcasting industry, doing stints
at NBC, ABC and RCA records. "I got to meet a lot of
interesting people, including celebrities. At NBC I worked
in the news department when Chuck Scarborough came to New
York," says Lesser.
Joule Staffing Services, 2277 Route 33, Suite 416,
Hamilton 08619; 609-588-5900; fax, 609-588-9642. Lydia
Moussa, manager. Home page: www.jouleinc.com
The staffing agency moved from 2333 Whitehorse-Mercerville
Road, Suite G, to an office on Route 33. It offers
clerical and warehouse temporary staffing, and it has
contracts with state government. It is headquartered in
Triassic Technology Inc., 57 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 209,
Hopewell 08525; 609-466-9628; fax, 609-466-4437. Gil
Oudijk, president. Home page: www.triassictechnology.com
A 20-year-old environmental forensics firm added 2,000
feet to its space on Hamilton Avenue in Hopewell. The
13-person firm uses using chemical, analytical methods and
isotopic methods to characterize pollution, assess age of
contaminants, and allocate responsibility.
Bill Barish of Commercial Property Network negotiated the
Cambridge School, 100 Straube Center Boulevard, Pennington
08534; 609-730-9553; fax, 609-730-9584. Deborah Peters,
head of school. Home page: www.thecambridgeschool.org
Cambridge School added 4,700 square feet to its current
9,375-foot space, and now it occupies all of one floor and
part of another floor in the new building at the Straube
Center. Bill Barish represented the tenant.
The school enrolls children with language-based learning
differences, ages five through eighth grade, and its
curriculum is based on the Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, and
The Goddard School, 29 Emmons Drive, Suite D-20, Princeton
08540; 609-734-0909; fax, 609-734-0505. Bryan and Tambi
Scheff, owners. Home page: www.goddardpreschool.com
Bryan and Tambi Scheff are adding 20 percent more space to
their franchise of the Goddard School at Princeton
Commerce Center, and soon they will occupy 10,800 square
feet. Paul Goldman of Commercial Property Network arranged
The school offers child care for ages six weeks to five
years and also after-school programs.
Prudential Financial, 9 Schalks Crossing Road, Suite 726,
Plainsboro 08536; 609-799-1920; fax, 609-799-1646. Robert
M. Dilatush, special agent.
Robert Dilatush and Tim McLaughlin moved their Prudential
office from Princeton Meadows Office Center on December 4.
Prudential Financial (PRU), 1009 Lenox Drive,
In November Prudential Financial closed one office at 1009
Lenox Drive, Building 4. Some of the senior agents
retired, and some joined the Clarke Group, an office
associated with Prudential in the same building. Mike
Marciano is the managing director of Prudential’s Central
New Jersey agency, which covers Mercer, Middlesex, and
Monmouth counties (732-565-7500).
Kforce.Com, 555 Route 1 South, Iselin 08830; 732-326-3100;
fax, 732-326-3161. Jackie Finestone, regional operations
Kforce.com closed a 3,000 square-foot office at 3
Independence Way and calls are being taken in Iselin.
Jackie Finestone, regional operations manager, works from
the corporate office. Formerly known as Source EDP, it
offers does staffing for information technology, finance &
accounting and science.
CHN Solutions, 3525 Quakerbridge Road, Ibis Plaza,
Hamilton 08619; 609-631-0474; fax, 609-631-0492. Leonard
V. Weinman, senior vice president, Consolidated Services
Group. Home page: www.chn.com
CHN Solutions plans to move next spring from Ibis Plaza on
Quakerbridge Road to 37,500 feet at American Metro Center.
A division of Consolidated Services Group, it was formerly
known as Alta Services. It is a preferred provider
organization with a managed behavioral health network and
employee assistance programs. It represents major
insurers, third-party administrators, and municipal and
school board joint insurance funds. Rich Gittleman of
Triad represented the tenant in the lease negotiations.
Disch Real Estate, 45 East Broad Street, Hopewell 08525;
609-466-4666; fax, 609-466-4611. Raymond E. Disch,
Ray Disch moved his commercial and residential real estate
office from 10 East Broad Street to an historic house. "We
are now part of the `Gateway’ to Hopewell, directly across
from the Lotus Dealership," says Disch.
When Disch listed the house for residential sale last
spring, potential buyers had been deterred by the traffic.
"It became evident that the building would be better
suited for an office rather than a home," he says.
It has been rezoned. Disch Real Estate occupies the first
floor, and three offices are available to rent on the
Lawrence L. Dupraz, 87, on December 24. The longtime
production advisor for Princeton’s student newspaper, the
Daily Princetonian, he was also the production advisor to
U.S. 1 (page 61).
Margery Richardson Claghorn, 82, on December 30. She
co-founded the Bryn Mawr Bookstore. A service will be
Sunday, January 7, at 3 p.m. at the Princeton Meeting, 740
Sharon Helen Carol Sabo Bilanin, 59, on December 28. She
had been a Princeton Township committee person, and was on
the planning board.
Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK), 72 Escher Street, Box
872, Trenton 08605; 609-695-5456; fax, 609-695-1225. Home
After eight years as executive director, Peter Wise has
announced his resignation. The job of feeding the hungry –
more than 172,000 meals last year – is intense, he says,
and he notes that TASK directors generally stay, on
average, for a little more than two years. Wise is a
member of the search committee for his successor, and he
will continue to serve until a successor is found.
"I leave with profoundly mixed emotions," says Wise. "I
love the mission, I love the task, I love the people, and
I am proud of what we have accomplished at TASK. We have a
second serving site in the South Ward, the adult education
is at an all time high, and we have two social workers,
through a subcontract with Catholic Charities." That’s the
good news. The bad news is that the soup kitchen on Escher
Street is building an expansion to meet increased needs.
Expanding feeding programs, Wise believes, may not be the
best way to help the hungry. @head 14:Contracts Awarded
Provid Pharmaceuticals, 671 Route 1 South, Rutgers
Technology Center II, North Brunswick 08902; Gary Olson,
Provid Pharmaceuticals, located at the Technology Center
of New Jersey on Route 1 South in North Brunswick, has
received $750,000 from the Edison Innovation Fund. Provid
is a chemistry-based drug discovery company that focuses
on peptide mimetics technology and auto immune diseases.
Provid plans to create 45 new jobs, says its CEO, Gary
Not to be confused with the private venture capital firm,
Lenox Drive-based Edison Venture Fund, Edison Innovation
Fund is a state effort managed by the New Jersey Economic
Development Authority (EDA) that has been created to grow
jobs and encourage economic growth in the technology
industry. The fund provides an integrated set of resources
such as angel and lease guarantees, low-interest loans,
venture capital, tax and business incentives, and
affordable, modern, office and laboratory space and
"Through the Edison Innovation Fund, the EDA is working to
expand the availability of early-stage capital and provide
specialized assistance to growing businesses like Provid
Pharmaceuticals," said EDA CEO Caren S. Franzini in a
Edda Technology, 14 Washington Road, Building 2, Princeton
Junction 08550; 609-936-8282; fax, 609-799-1545. Jianzhong
Qian, president and CEO. Home page: www.edda-tech.com
Edda Technology has released the only system that has been
approved for real-time interactive diagnostic analysis of
digital chest X-rays. Its IQQAr-Chest software V2.0 has
been clinically proven to improve detection of small lung
nodules up to 85 percent. Now radiologists can use this
advanced software at their primary review stations, rather
than using a dedicated work station.
Voxware Inc. (VOXW), 168 Franklin Corner Road, Suite 3,
Lawrenceville 08648; 609-514-4100; fax, 609-514-4101. Tom
Drury, CEO. Home page: www.voxware.com
Paragon Technologies, a supplier of "smart" material
handling systems, announced it will employ Voxware’s
voice-driven applications for its warehouse management