Indian American accused in $45 million fraud scheme

By stiefelmick via Flickr Creative Commons

Authorities arrested a 50-year-old Indian American tech entrepreneur accusing him of defrauding more than 10,000 victims of over $45 million in an investment fraud scheme, the American Bazaar reported.

Suspect Neil Chandran is from Las Vegas Nevada, but was arrested in Los Angeles, California. 

According to the Department of Justice, officers arrested him on June 29 after unsealing a previously sealed indictment from a federal grand jury in Nebraska on June 14. 

Chandran owned multiple technology companies and according to the indictment used those companies in the investment fraud scheme. He is alleged to have falsely promised “extremely high returns on the premise that one or more of his companies, operated under the banner of ‘ViRSE’, was about to be acquired by a consortium of wealthy buyers.”

Chandran’s companies include, but are not limited to Free Vi Lab; Studio Vi, Inc.; ViDelivery, Inc.; ViMarket, Inc.; and Skalex USA Inc.

The indictment also alleges that Chandran caused two other individuals to make “various materially false and misleading representations to investors.”

He’s accused of promising investors in his companies would “would soon receive extremely high returns when one or more of those companies was purchased by a group of wealthy buyers.

“Investor funds would be used for normal expenses to keep the companies operating until they were purchased and prominent business figures, including two notable billionaires, were involved in the purchase,” the indictment said. 

According to the indictment “there was no such buyer group that was about to purchase the companies for the claimed returns; a substantial portion of the funds were misappropriated for other business ventures and the personal benefit” of Chandran and others and “the two notable billionaires were not involved in purchasing Chandran’s companies.” 

With these funds they are alleged to have purchased luxury cars and real estate.  

The indictment also alleges that 100 different assets including “bank accounts, real estate, and luxury vehicles (39 Tesla vehicles) are subject to forfeiture as proceeds of the fraud. U.S. Marshals and the FBI are seizing most of the assets pending resolution of the criminal case.” 

Chandran has been charged with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of monetary transactions in unlawful proceeds. If convicted Chandran faces up to 20 years in prison per wire fraud count and up to 10 years for each count of unlawful monetary transactions.

The FBI Washington Field Office is still investigating the case with the help of the FBI’s Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Omaha field offices.

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