New York: An Indian-origin man has been sentenced to upto six years in prison for defrauding start-ups in the US by convincing them to hire him as consultant based on stolen identities and false claims of knowing millionaire capitalists including the founding members of Facebook.
Arun Ganguly, 38, was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday after he pleaded guilty in the New York State Supreme Court to fraud charges.
According to the his guilty plea, Ganguly was hired as a financial consultant and investment advisor after making repeated fraudulent representations about his work experience.
He falsely claimed that he had a "personal relationship" with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, all associated with the founding of Facebook, as well as with Winklevoss's father, Howard Winklevoss, prosecutors said.
He asserted that the Winklevosses were interested in selling their Facebook shares prior to the company's initial public offering, and that they would pay a significant fee to the person who would find them an overseas buyer for the shares.
Ganguly sent more than 500 emails purporting to be Narendra and the Winklevosses.
He forged numerous documents in 2014 pledging to invest money and make payments to a private equity fund under the names of Tyler, Howard Winklevoss and Ms Narendra, they said.
He even forged signatures of at least three other wealthy individuals on documents pledging more than $16 million to the private equity fund.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said that after deceiving numerous people by completely fabricating his past experience, personal wealth, and ability to fund their companies, "Ganguly has finally acknowledged the depth of his fraud".
"Forged emails, doctored financial documents, shell companies with fabricated employees, and a completely fictitious family trust were all part of the trail that established this defendant's guilt," he said.
He falsely asserted that his family had a multi-million dollar trust he could use to invest.
In August 2013, in a separate but similar scam, Ganguly made false representations about his experience and family wealth to convince a different investment management firm to hire him as a consultant.
He promised to raise a million dollars for a portfolio company controlled by the firm but when he could not raise the money, he claimed that his mother would invest $ 300,000 from their non-existent family trust.
In order to further this scheme, Ganguly sent emails from multiple accounts he created purporting to be from fictitious employees assisting with his business ventures.