St. Louis County Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges
St. Louis, MO – Raja Chellappa, of St. Louis County, pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud in connection with his solicitation and acceptance of a fictitious “buyer’s premium” as part of a 2015 commercial real estate transaction.
According to his plea agreement, Chellappa falsely told a buyer of a St. Charles County motel property that the seller had demanded a $50,000 “buyer’s premium” when no such demand had been made. The buyer agreed to pay the extra $50,000, which Chellappa directed the buyer to wire into his personal bank account. The $50,000 was not disclosed to the seller or to Chellappa’s real estate company during the escrow and closing process.
Chellappa pled guilty before Judge Catherine D. Perry, who set sentencing for December 14, 2016.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000. Restitution is also mandatory. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
The case was investigated by the St. Louis Division of the FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Tom Albus is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.