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

Sovereign Bank.

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:

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

in restaurants.

Special Olympics New Jersey, 3 Princess Road,

Lawrenceville 08648; 609-896-8000; fax, 609-896-8040. Marc

Edenzon, president. Home page:

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:

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:

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:

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

Lindamood-Bell techniques.

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:

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 lease.

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).

Leaving Town

Kforce.Com, 555 Route 1 South, Iselin 08830; 732-326-3100;

fax, 732-326-3161. Jackie Finestone, regional operations

manager. 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.

Crosstown Moves

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:

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

second floor.


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

Quaker Road.

Sharon Helen Carol Sabo Bilanin, 59, on December 28. She

had been a Princeton Township committee person, and was on

the planning board.

Management Moves

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,

CEO. 732-565-1101.

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

support services.

"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

press release.

Contracts Awarded

Edda Technology, 14 Washington Road, Building 2, Princeton

Junction 08550; 609-936-8282; fax, 609-799-1545. Jianzhong

Qian, president and CEO. Home page:

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:

Paragon Technologies, a supplier of "smart" material

handling systems, announced it will employ Voxware’s

voice-driven applications for its warehouse management


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