US investment fraud: Indian-origin man arrested in US over alleged $45 million investment fraud

Washington, A 50-year-old Indian-born tech entrepreneur has been arrested in the United States for an alleged investment scheme that defrauded more than 10,000 victims of more than $45 million and netted him several luxury cars and real estate. Neil Chandran, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was arrested in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Justice Department said.

According to the indictment, Chandran owned a group of technology companies which he used as part of a scheme to defraud investors by falsely promising extremely high returns on the assumption that one or more of his companies, operating under the banner of “ViRSE”, were about to be acquired by a consortium of wealthy buyers.

Chandran’s companies – which included Free Vi Lab, Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc, ViMarket Inc and Skalex USA Inc, among others – developed virtual world technologies, including their own cryptocurrency, for use in the own metaverse of societies.

The indictment alleges that Chandran caused others to make various materially false and misleading statements to investors, including that investors in his companies would soon receive extremely high returns when one or more of these companies were purchased by a group of wealthy buyers.

In fact, according to the indictment, there was no such group of buyers who were about to buy the companies for the returns claimed; a substantial part of the funds was diverted for other business ventures and the personal benefit of Chandran and others, including the purchase of luxury cars and real estate; and there were no high-profile billionaires involved in buying Chandran’s companies.

Chandran is charged with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of participating in criminal property money transactions.

If convicted, Chandran faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and up to 10 years in prison for each count of participating in illegal monetary transactions.

The indictment also alleges that 100 different assets – bank accounts, real estate and luxury vehicles, including 39 Tesla vehicles – are likely to be confiscated as proceeds of fraud.

US Marshals and the FBI seize most of the assets pending resolution of the criminal case.

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