The owner of several technology companies was arrested last month in Los Angeles on charges related to an alleged investment fraud scheme. The man, a Nevada resident, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly obtaining $45 million in the scheme that defrauded more than 10,000 unsuspecting victims.
Unsealed documents released last month outline the details that led to the indictment. According to the documents, Neil Chandran, a 50-year-old resident of Las Vegas, used his ownership in several technology companies to develop a fraudulent investment scheme that misled participating investors into believing they would receive exceptionally high returns on their investments. Victims were told that the program they were investing into, more broadly referred to as “ViRSE” would soon be acquired by an outside group with significant wealth. In addition, it was falsely conveyed that two different billionaires were affiliated with the investment scheme when, in fact, were no such wealthy individuals involved with the group. ViRSE was the umbrella of companies Chandran owned, including Skalex USA Inc., ViDelivery Inc., Studio Vi Inc., and others. The tech companies were involved in cryptocurrencies and virtual technologies related to the metaverse.
A few of the allegations made against Chandran in the indictment include fraud related to the misrepresentations about the nature of the investment that caused investors to part with funds, and misuse of funds that were meant to go toward business expenses but were rather used to purchase luxury goods, cars, and real estate. The indictment outlines a number of assets that are subject to seizure while the criminal case is pending. Some items listed were 39 Tesla vehicles, luxury vehicles, real estate, and numerous bank accounts.
Charges stemming from this indictment include several counts of wire fraud and counts related to monetary transactions involving the use of a criminally acquired property. If ultimately convicted of these crimes, Chandan will be subject to a 20-year prison sentence for each wire fraud charge and an additional ten years for each criminal transaction.
Defending Against Fraud and Related Charges
While the above case involves millions of dollars, fraud charges are often pursued in much smaller amounts. Suppose you or someone you know is the target of a fraud investigation. In that case, it is important to have the right representation from the outset from an attorney whose knowledge extends to many areas of criminal law and who is especially experienced in the following types of cases:
Fraud involves misrepresentation, dishonesty, or deceit for financial gain or other desired benefit. Misleading information may lead the victim to enter into an agreement or transaction. Cases of financial crimes that involve fraud are considered to be very serious. They are increasingly becoming a priority of investigation for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies due to the serious harm this crime can have on victims. The punishment for a fraud conviction can range in severity depending on the number of victims, the amount of money or goods that were fraudulently obtained, and the duration and sophistication of the scheme.
The crime of embezzlement relates to the misuse of funds by a person entrusted with them. While the person committing embezzlement might have had the right to hold, manage or monitor the funds, it is the act of stealing this money they were entrusted with that constitutes criminal activity. In this way, embezzlement is theft committed by an insider with access. In addition to being responsible for replacing the stolen property or funds, someone who is found guilty of embezzlement may also be subject to severe penalties, including prison time, in cases where embezzlement occurs by a government employee and involves employee benefit or healthcare premiums or the like it may move into the realm of a federal crime. Embezzlement charged as a federal crime would incur even more penalties.
Misappropriation is another type of theft involving taking property or money without authorization. Generally, misappropriation is classified as a white-collar crime and might include the misuse of funds, trade secrets, or criminally obtaining other assets. This property is then used without the original owner’s permission by the person committing the crime for their purposes.
Being charged with theft crimes, including fraud, embezzlement, or misappropriation, is very serious. Finding the right criminal defense attorney to defend against these charges can differentiate between serious prison time and some lesser plea agreement. Depending on the facts of the case, it may be possible to have the charges dropped altogether.
Find a Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer To Fight Fraud Charges
Daniel Perlman has successfully fought fraud charges for clients throughout California and is also licensed to represent clients in the federal court system throughout the fifty states. As a prominent criminal defense attorney, he is known for his aggressive approach and expertise in the areas of fraud, embezzlement, and misappropriation. Having represented clients in thousands of criminal cases, Daniel has an excellent track record for obtaining the best outcomes.
Daniel Perlman is a member of the American Bar Association as well as the Los Angeles Bar Association and San Fernando Bar Association. He is also professionally recognized by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Daniel and his team of seasoned criminal defense attorneys are available to help with your criminal law matter should you need the assistance of a highly skilled defense team.
Matt Cohen is Daniel’s copartner in the firm. Matt regularly appears in state and federal courts throughout the Los Angeles region. He represents clients in misdemeanor and felony matters. No matter the type of case, Matt is a fierce protector of his clients’ constitutional rights. He knows the prosecutor must prove the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a high standard for the prosecutor to reach. Matt holds the prosecutor to that standard in every case he handles.
Contact federal criminal defense attorneys Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen today for a free consultation at (310) 299-0062.