SANTA ANA, California – A former executive at an Orange County commercial real estate agency was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint alleging a decade-long scheme in which he stole $2.5 million by submitting fictitious invoices for companies controlled by his family and friends whose services were never performed.
Varun Aggarwal, 40, of Irvine, California, was arrested this morning by special agents with the FBI. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.
Aggarwal is charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint that was unsealed today, beginning at least in 2012 and continuing through January 2022, Aggarwal used his position at the Newport Beach-based KBS Realty Advisors to embezzle his employer’s money.
During his decade-long tenure at KBS, Aggarwal worked in the company’s internal auditing department, rising to the level of the department’s director. As a member of the company’s accounting group, Aggarwal was intimately familiar with KBS’s policies and procedures for payments to vendors. Aggarwal used his knowledge of KBS’s policies and procedures to have his friends and family perform contracting work for his groups at KBS.
After several of these companies became approved vendors for KBS, Aggarwal used these approved vendors to submit fraudulent invoices for consulting services that were not performed for the company, the complaint alleges. He then funneled the payments on the invoices from KBS to his own bank accounts – through the approved vendors – at times without informing the vendors that the invoices and the payments on the invoices were for his own benefit.
Aggarwal resigned from KBS in January 2022 after the company began investigating the invoices, the affidavit states.
A review of company, bank and tax records show that Aggarwal, using approximately six vendors, stole approximately $2,601,246 from KBS between approximately January 1, 2012, and January 13, 2022, according to the affidavit.
A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of both counts, Aggarwal would face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.
The FBI investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Brett A. Sagel of the Santa Ana Branch Office is prosecuting this case.