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Press Release

Owner Of Bay Area Real Estate Company Charged With Wire Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

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

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Vikram Srinivasan, charging him with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with an alleged fraudulent real estate investment scheme, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp.

The indictment was filed February 29, 2024, and unsealed earlier today.  According to the indictment, Srinivasan, 31, of Fremont, operated, controlled, and at least partially owned Paragon Holdings, LLC, a San Francisco Bay Area-based company that he used to facilitate the fraud.  Specifically, the indictment describes how in August of 2019, a victim (identified in the indictment only as “R.K.”) provided money to an individual for the purchase of real estate in San Francisco and, after fearing the invested money had been fraudulently obtained, eventually met with Srinivasan.  Srinivasan represented to the victim that he (Srinivasan) could salvage the prior real estate deal.  According to the indictment, rather than salvage the deal, Srinivasan made things worse.  For example, Srinivasan claimed he could retrieve the victim’s money; however, rather than retrieve the money, Srinivasan allegedly transferred at least some of it to an account in his own name and used the transferred money for his own purposes.  Further, the indictment describes how Srinivasan represented that the victim’s money was held by certain escrow companies, when, in fact, it was not.  Srinivasan allegedly provided false and fraudulent documentation in support of these representations.

In addition, Srinivasan allegedly solicited additional funds from the victim, promising to use the money for the purchase of additional real estate in Pleasant Hill.  Srinivasan represented that he would use Paragon to facilitate the transaction.  The indictment alleges the victim provided Srinivasan approximately $125,000 based on this and related misrepresentations.  For example, the indictment alleges Srinivasan again allegedly provided fraudulent documentation that suggested there was a sale of the property from a seller through a real estate agent to Srinivasan, as Paragon.  This sale of the property did not occur.  Rather than use the money for the real estate transaction, Srinivasan transferred some of it to an account in his own name and used it for his own purposes.  The indictment also alleges that Srinivasan unlawfully used means of identification of at least two other victims during and in relation to his fraud (identified in the indictment only as “B.R.” and “A.S.”).

In sum, the indictment charges Srinivasan with one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.  If convicted of wire fraud, Srinivasan faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 (or twice the value of the gain or loss from the scheme), plus restitution, if appropriate.  In addition, if Srinivasan is convicted of aggravated identity theft, each count carries a mandatory two years in prison which would be consecutive to any prison term imposed for the wire fraud count.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Srinivasan made his initial appearance this morning before Chief Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu.  His next scheduled appearance is scheduled for March 20, 2024, before Magistrate Judge Ryu for further proceeding including a further bail review.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert David Rees is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Katie Turner and Kay Konopaske.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.

Updated March 18, 2024