NEW YORK, May 7: An Indian-American man has been indicted on charges of perpetrating an investment fraud scheme in which he allegedly told investors that their money would be used to fund research and develop prototype spacecraft and space-related propulsion systems but instead used it for personal expenses.
Ramesh Kris Nathan, 37, a US national whose last known address is in Chennai, India, was indicted on charges related to the alleged investment fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney David Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John Bennett.
Nathan is charged with six counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft. He was arrested last week in Los Angeles.
In an indictment filed in January this year and unsealed last week, 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 created a Nevada corporation called Relativity Research Fund, which had no legitimate underlying business activities.
Instead, he 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 authorise Nathan to do so.
The indictment further describes how Nathan induced potential investors to provide funds by making false and misleading statements on Relativity’s website and in emails to potential investors.
He 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 USD 10 million capital investment, seven worldwide offices, employed over 15,000 people, generated gross revenue of $36.87 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, and earned a profit of USD 29.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In addition, Nathan represented that Relativity 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. However, 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.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum USD 250,000 fine on each count of wire fraud as well as 10 years in prison and a USD 250,000 maximum fine for each count of money laundering. (PTI)