Indian-origin man pleads guilty to wire fraud charges in US

Updated: Oct 09, 2019, 07:43 IST | PTI

Kaushal, who remains detained, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy when sentenced in January 2020

This image has been used for representational purposes only
This image has been used for representational purposes only

New York: A 66-year old Indian-origin man has pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud his employer of more than USD 1.7 million. Rakesh Kaushal of Maryland pleaded guilty last week to the federal charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office said.

Kaushal, who remains detained, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy when sentenced in January 2020. According to his plea agreement, between August 2015 and approximately January 2017, Kaushal was employed by a company headquartered in Maryland that provided construction and design services, primarily to federal government agencies.

Ivan Victor Thrane was the owner and president of three construction companies operating in Dickerson and Beltsville, Maryland. Kaushal admitted that he conspired with Thrane to defraud the Maryland-based company by submitting fraudulent payment requests for work purportedly performed by the three Thrane companies, which Kaushal reviewed and approved.

Prosecutors said that after committing the fraud, Kaushal wired a total of USD 650,000, including proceeds of the fraud, from one of his personal bank accounts to an account in India, with Kaushal listed as the beneficiary.

The Maryland-based company eventually initiated civil litigation against Kaushal and Thrane, and obtained a default judgment against Kaushal of USD 1,740,330.

Kaushal then filed for bankruptcy and during a meeting of creditors in the bankruptcy proceeding, Kaushal testified that he had used some of the proceeds of the fraud to purchase a condominium in India for a family member and that he had lost more than USD 100,000 gambling at various casinos.

Kaushal admitted that the loss attributable to him as a result of the scheme is between USD 1.5 million and USD 3.5 million. Thrane, 65 pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme in August this year and is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2020.

As part of their plea agreements, Kaushal and Thrane are required to forfeit and pay restitution in the full amount of the victim's losses still outstanding, which is at least USD 988,805.

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