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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Friday, May 3, 2019

Alleged Fraudster Indicted In Investment Scheme

Ramesh Kris Nathan Arrested In Connection With Alleged Wire Fraud Scheme

SAN FRANCISCO – Ramesh Kris Nathan was indicted on charges related to an alleged investment fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  In an indictment filed January 17, 2019, and unsealed today, a federal grand jury charged Nathan with fraudulently obtaining investors for a company with no legitimate underlying business activities by promising their money would be used to fund research and develop prototype spacecraft, space-related propulsion systems, and related technologies.  

According to the indictment, between June 2016 and August 2017, Nathan, 37, a U.S. national whose last known address is in Chennai, India, created a Nevada corporation called Relativity Research Fund, Inc. (Relativity).  Relativity had no legitimate underlying business activities.  Instead, Nathan allegedly used the corporation to induce potential investors to provide funds for non-existent business enterprises.  Further, Nathan allegedly opened and maintained a bank account using the name and personal identification of an investor who did not authorize Nathan to do so.  

The indictment further describes how Nathan allegedly induced potential investors to provide funds by making false and misleading statements on Relativity’s website and in emails to potential investors.  For example, Nathan held out the company as being involved in the development of numerous technology-related enterprises including advanced robotics, space travel technology, and combustion-free propulsion systems.  Nathan also represented that the company had a $10,000,000 capital investment, had seven worldwide offices, employed 15,456 employees, generated gross revenue of $36.87 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, and earned a profit of $29.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.  In addition, Nathan represented that Relativity had completed all of the requirements for listing its shares on the Nasdaq Private Market, and that investors would be able to trade their Relativity shares on that market.  According to the indictment, none of these facts was true.  Further, Nathan allegedly either spent the investor funds on his own personal expenses or transferred investor funds to his overseas bank account, his mother, or his then-girlfriend.  

In sum, the indictment charges Nathan with six counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, two counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957; and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.   Nathan was arrested yesterday in Los Angeles and made his initial appearance today.  His next appearance has not be scheduled as of the time of this writing. 

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine on each count of wire fraud as well as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine for each count of money laundering.  Further, if convicted of the aggravated identity theft count, Nathan faces a mandatory two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence, and a maximum $250,000 fine.  In addition, the court also may order an additional term of supervised release, fines or other assessments, and restitution, if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Vieira is prosecuting this case with the assistance of Kimberly Richardson.  This prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Updated May 3, 2019