$200,000 grand theft charge dropped

A misunderstanding led to the charge against a store owner, his lawyer says.

By JOSE CARDENAS, Times Staff Writer
Published November 28, 2007

A grand theft charge against a Largo convenience store owner accused of stealing $200,000 from a Tampa truck stop where he previously worked has been dropped.

Surinder Singh, 51, was originally the manager of a truck stop called Singh 301 Inc. (The business was owned by Prem Singh, who is no relation to Surinder Singh.)

After Surinder Singh left the truck stop, he was accused of opening a new bank account in Pinellas Park for his own business, also called Singh 301 Inc.

In August 2004, he was charged with transferring $200,000 from the truck stop's bank account to his own company.

But the charge was dropped because Prem Singh did not show up for court, said Surinder Singh's attorney, Lucas Fleming.

Fleming said the charges stemmed from a misunderstanding. Fleming said Prem Singh owed Surinder Singh $200,000 in costs associated with the truck stop. Fleming said he did not know who executed the transfer, but Surinder Singh considered it payment from Prem Singh.

"Mr. Singh was adamant about his innocence throughout the entire process," Fleming said.

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