Abhijit Das, aka 'Beej', an Indian-origin attorney and a former candidate for the US House of Representatives was arrested in the USA for allegedly defrauding an India-based company of more than USD 5 million and using client funds for personal expenses, the Department of Justice said.
Das was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on June 20, 2023 on 10 counts of wire fraud. Das was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida last week and appeared in the Southern District of Florida.
Das allegedly diverted funds from his clients' accounts to other accounts and used the funds for personal expenses, including a yacht owned by one of his hotels, as well as USD 2.7 million for his home in Florida.
A former US House of Representatives candidate, Das had also been arrested in June 2021 for allegedly violating the Federal Election Campaign Act and false statements, the Department of Justice said in a press release last week.
According to the indictment, from around May 2020, Das, an attorney and principal manager of a boutique law and advisory firm, began providing legal representation and escrow services to two twin brothers and their logistical supply company in India that was coordinating large shipments Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the pandemic.
Das diverted more than USD 5 million in escrow funds from his clients' accounts to other accounts. The indictment alleged that he used the funds for personal expenses including expenses for his law firm, a yacht owned by one of his hotels, and USD 2.7 million for his Boca Raton (Florida) home.
Das allegedly induced his clients to transfer funds to accounts he controlled in multi-step, layered transactions under the guise of legal advice about the risk of potential litigation and provided clients with fraudulent and forged account statements to conceal the scheme, the statement said.
It further alleged that Das committed nine of the ten counts of wire fraud while on court-mandated pre-trial release conditions resulting from his June 2021 indictment.
That earlier indictment charged him with campaign finance violations, embezzlement of campaign funds and making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission.
The wire fraud charges each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of USD 250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, the statement said.