Acharyya Rupak, also known as Rudy Rupak, has been sentenced to 24 months in jail and must pay a fine of $10,000 for crimes he committed relating to his international surrogacy company, Planet Hospital.
Rupak founded Planet Hospital at the beginning of 2003 and has been the sole operator since then, doing business with companies in San Diego, Calexico, and Calabasas, California.
The hospital has facilitated medical tourism services, which are the visit of foreign patients to hospitals across international borders in order to receive medical treatment, including organ transplants and cosmetic surgery.
In 2006, the hospital began offering international surrogacy services, which is a surrogacy agreement involving an overseas country, and generally involves the carrying of a pregnancy by a surrogate for intended parents.
From September 2012 to January 2014, Rupak made interstate wire transfers with the intent to facilitate commercial bribery, solicited, and instructed Planet Hospital employees to solicit medical tourism and international surrogacy clients by falsely representing that their funds would be “set aside” or put in escrow accounts and used only to pay for medical services provided to the respective client.
In some instances, however, Rupak caused funds obtained from new Planet Hospital clients to be used to pay for services provided to existing Planet Hospital clients like in December 2013, he directed an employee to solicit funds from PH clients by fraudulently representing that the clients’ funds would be maintained in an escrow account.
The clients were also told their funds would be sent to My Donor Cycle, a San Diego-based business for surrogacy egg donation services and Rupak instructed the employee to make the representation to the clients without the knowledge or consent of My Donor Cycle.
On December 5, 2013, the Planet Hospital clients, wire-transferred $24,000 to a bank account controlled by Rupak but he did not place those funds into escrow and instead comingled some of their funds with funds received from another client.
He then wire-transferred the combined funds to My Donor Cycle to pay for services already provided to prior clients.
Rupak also initially undercharged clients for the cost of medical tourism and international surrogacy services in order to induce them to begin services through Planet Health without knowing that additional payments would be required however, Rupak often failed to forward clients’ funds to service providers.
The service providers included the Fertility Clinic Cancun and the IREGA Clinic which were clinics that provided surrogacy services in Cancun, Mexico.
Rupak’s failure to forward client funds to these clinics caused the service providers to demand additional funds from the Planet Hospital clients in order to initiate or continue international surrogacy services.
Rupak then made several excuses to those clients for its failure to provide successful surrogacy services and created a fraudulent website and email address through which he sent unauthorized emails in the name of a clinic and its physician to Planet Hospital clients in order give false excuses why the hospital had not provided promised services.
Rupak also instructed the hospital’s employees to make misrepresentations to its clients regarding prior medical tourism and international surrogacy successes and those unsuccessful surrogacy procedures were the fault of foreign service-providers, restriction from foreign laws, or failed bank transactions.
Rupak also identified himself with an alias to potential employers in order to conceal his true identity and pending fraud allegations and acknowledged that he caused total losses of at least $247,620.
In imposing custody, Judge Bashant noted that Rupak lied to vulnerable victims who were sick, and who were desperate for children.
“The defendant betrayed the trust placed in him by people desperate to have a child. By preying on their vulnerable emotions, he was able to extract more money on the false promise that he was doing everything possible to help them obtain a baby. To use the dream of parenthood as leverage for obtaining fraudulent proceeds is intolerable and heartbreaking,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Robinson.
“Today’s sentencing is justice overdue for the many victims affected by this defendant’s deceitful practices. Acharyya Rupak can no longer prey upon those desperate to have a family,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum.
Rupak is scheduled for a restitution hearing on September 13, to determine exactly how much he must pay back to his victims.