An Indian-American in Maryland has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme worth approximately USD 1.26 million, according to the Department of Justice. Manish Singh, 48, 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 USD 1.2 million in a high-end fabric design business, when in reality, he fraudulently used their money to fund personal expenses," said Raj Parekh, Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. 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.
Singh represented to the victim investors that their money was being used for numerous expenses related to the business, such as the manufacture of fabric in India. 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 USD 1.26 million for the fraudulent joint business venture, federal prosecutors alleged.