Man Pleads Guilty to Million Dollar Investment Fraud Scheme
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – After three days of trial before a federal jury, an Owings Mills, Maryland man pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme worth approximately $1.26 million.
“In the midst of a jury trial, the defendant admitted that he deceived victims into believing they were investing more than $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 U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Our Office is grateful to the FBI and prosecution team for uncovering and piecing together the evidence that exposed this investment fraud scheme. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to swindle honest investors.”
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Manish Singh, 48, 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 $1.26 million for the fraudulent joint business venture.
Singh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on July 30. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grace L. Hill and Heidi B. Gesch are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-59.