By Bill Kirk
---- — BOSTON — An Andover man was convicted last week in federal court on charges of obstructing a grand jury investigation.
Kamlesh Patel, 48, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. to obstruction by destruction and alteration of documents in connection with a grand jury investigation, according to a press release issued June 12 by U.S. Attorney Carmin Ortiz’s office.
Patel had earlier received a grand jury subpoena for records relating to his business dealings with another company and claims that it was owned and operated by a service-disabled veteran.
He was aware that he had documents on his computer that were relevant to the subpoena and the pending investigation. Patel nonetheless deleted those documents, the statement said.
Patel, who owned J&J Contractors of Lowell, could not be reached for comment. A person answering the phone at J&J Contractors last week said Patel was no longer affiliated with the company at 35 Market St., Suite 401.
Patel, who owns a $1.6 million home on Trevino Circle in Andover, started the company about 17 years ago and built it into a multi-million-dollar construction firm. The company, according to its website, has dozens of contracts for major federal, state and local governments.
J&J Contractors has built schools, military facilities and even border crossings for the U.S. government.
According to a lengthy profile of Patel published in 2011 by Construction Today, the company built a border crossing between the U.S. and Canada in Calais, Maine, a $57.8 million project for the General Services Administration.
J&J also builds high schools, including a $29 million, 190,000-square-foot school in Stillwater, Maine. It also built Plymouth North High School in Plymouth, a $68 million project.
Patel’s attorney, David Vicinanzo of the Boston firm Nixon-Peabody, could not be reached for comment.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12. Under sentencing guidelines, Patel could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
The announcement of the guilty plea was made June 12 by Ortiz along with Jeffrey Hughes of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Luis Hernandez of the General Services Administration, Michael Conner of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Aaron Collins of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Robert Panella of the U.S. Department of Labor.
The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Sara Miron Bloom and William Bloomer.
Patel was originally charged in April on an “Information,” which is a legal tool allowing a prosecutor to file criminal charges against someone without a grand jury indictment.