Indian American pleads guilty to million dollar investment fraud scheme

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Stock photo: Dreamstime

After three days of trial before a federal jury, an Owings Mills, an Indian-American man from Maryland pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme worth approximately $1.26 million.

A May 14, 2021 press release from the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh, said Manish Singh, 48, had pleaded guilty.

U.S. Attorney Parekh and James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III accepted the plea.

Singh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on July 30.

“In the midst of a jury trial, the defendant admitted that he deceived victims into believing they were investing more than $1.2 million in a high-end fabric design business, when in reality, he fraudulently used their money to fund personal expenses,” Parekh is quoted saying in a press release. “Our Office is grateful to the FBI and prosecution team for uncovering and piecing together the evidence that exposed this investment fraud scheme.”

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Singh entered into an agreement in 2016 with a married couple to create a business that would design and sell high-end fabrics. The couple was to provide the capital for the business, and Singh was to contribute his expertise and contacts in the fabric industry, the press release said.

Singh told those investors he defrauded, that their money was being used for numerous expenses related to the business, such as the manufacture of fabric in India.

Investigators found that in reality, Singh was using the victims’ money almost entirely for personal expenses, mostly to view live pornography online. Based on Singh’s misrepresentations, the victims gave him approximately $1.26 million for the fraudulent joint business venture.

 

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