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Press Release

Former Auditor at Newport Beach Commercial Real Estate Agency Sentenced to Nearly 3 Years in Prison for $2.7 Million Embezzlement

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California – A former executive at an Orange County commercial real estate agency was sentenced today to 33 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $2.7 million from his employer by submitting fictitious invoices for services that were never performed or for greatly inflated amounts.

Varun Aggarwal, 42, of Irvine, was sentenced by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who also ordered him to pay $2,729,718 in restitution.

Aggarwal pleaded guilty in August 2023 to one count of wire fraud.

From 2008 to January 2022, Aggarwal worked in the internal auditing department of the Newport Beach-based KBS Realty Advisors and rose to the level of the department’s director. Beginning at least as early as January 2012 and continuing until January 2022, Aggarwal used his position at KBS to embezzle his employer’s money.

As a member of the company’s internal auditing group, Aggarwal was 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 serve as approved vendors to do contracting work for 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 or were submitted for work at inflated prices. 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.

In carrying out this scheme, Aggarwal fraudulently obtained approximately $2,729,718 from KBS that he caused it to pay to the approved vendors that ultimately went to himself.

Aggarwal resigned from KBS in January 2022 after the company began investigating the invoices, according to court documents.

“[Aggarwal] was not driven to commit his crimes by need, desperation, or the inability to legitimately earn a living,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “Despite the advantages defendant enjoyed – including a first-rate education and a well-compensated professional career – [Aggarwal] chose to commit the underlying criminal conduct causing great losses and abusing his position of trust over a lengthy period of time.”

The FBI investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Brett A. Sagel of the Corporate and Securities Fraud Strike Force is prosecuting this case.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated March 7, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-053