Hometown Deli, Paulsboro, N.J.
Mike Calia | CNBC
Peter Coker Sr., one of the defendants in the case of the so-called $100 million New Jersey deli, hired a lawyer who previously represented “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, according to a new court filing Tuesday.
Coker Sr. hired Marc Agnifilo to represent him in his case against the Securities and Exchange Commission, which sued him and two other men, including his son, for alleged market manipulation.
The Justice Department also criminally charged the men – Coker Sr., Peter Coker Jr. and James Patten – with multiple counts, including securities fraud, conspiracy and money laundering over an alleged scheme to pump up the value of a small, publicly traded company that had just a small-town New Jersey deli to its name.
The company, Hometown International, reached an eye-popping $100 million valuation last year in an over-the-counter market despite the deli, the now-closed Your Hometown Deli in Paulsboro, N.J., making less than $40,000 in annual sales.
Agnifilo, a New York-based former federal prosecutor, did not immediately return a call from CNBC seeking comment. In addition to representing Shkreli, he has worked for convicted sex criminal and former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere and a Russian bank that was sanctioned over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Shkreli, a former pharmaceuticals executive who was released from prison earlier this year, was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 and was sentenced in 2018.
Authorities arrested Coker Sr. and Patten last week in North Carolina, and were conditionally released. Their case is slated to be transfered to a federal court in New Jersey. Prosecutors wanted to keep Coker Sr., 80, detained. Coker Jr., who is based in Hong Kong, is considered at large.