Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of ARUN GANGULY, 37, for defrauding investment funds, start-up companies, and high-net-worth individuals by convincing them to hire him based on false pretenses, stolen identities, forged documents, and fictitious emails. GANGULY is charged in an indictment in New York State Supreme Court with one count each of Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and 52 counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree, among other charges.
“From forged emails and financial documents to a fictitious family trust, the lengths to which the defendant is alleged to have gone to represent himself as a well-connected power player are truly astounding,” said District Attorney Vance. “Thanks to the strong investigative work of my office, and the victims that brought this scheme to our attention, the masquerade has come to an end. I urge anyone with knowledge of this alleged cross-country, years-long scam to contact our Cybercrime Hotline at (212) 335-9600 as the investigation continues.”
According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, in May 2011, the managing director of an SEC-registered investment advisory firm retained GANGULY as a financial consultant and investment advisor. The defendant was hired after claiming to be a veteran consultant with extensive experience, including working for individuals associated with the Carlyle Group and Chesapeake Energy. Beginning in January 2012, when the defendant’s initial contract with the firm expired, through September 2014, GANGULY is accused of making numerous, repeated, and extensive fraudulent representations in order to convince the firm’s managing director to re-hire him and pay him a monthly fee of $5,000.
As part of the alleged scheme, GANGULY falsely purported to have a personal relationship with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and Divya Narenda, all associated with the founding of Facebook, as well as the Winklevosses’ father, Howard Winklevoss. GANGULY 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 finder’s fee to the person who found an overseas buyer for the shares. GANGULY also claimed that the Winklevosses and Narenda would invest millions of dollars in the managing director’s personal private equity fund, and that numerous other individuals, including Purnendu Chatterjee, founder of principal investment firm The Chatterjee Group, were also interested in investing. GANGULY similarly asserted that his family had a multi-million dollar trust he could use to invest in the private equity fund, though the trust was, in fact, nonexistent.
To further his fraud, GANGULY allegedly sent more than 500 emails purporting to be Narenda, Chatterjee, and Howard and Tyler Winklevoss. Additionally, GANGULY is charged with forging numerous documents in March and June 2014 pledging to invest money and make payments to the managing director’s private equity fund, under the names of Tyler and Howard Winklevoss, Divya Narendra, and Purendu Chatterjee. GANGULY likewise forged the signatures of at least three other wealthy individuals on documents pledging more than $16 million to the private equity fund.
In August 2013, in a separate but similar alleged scam, GANGULY is accused of making false representations about his experience and family wealth to convince a different investment management firm to hire him as a consultant. The defendant promised to raise $1 million for a portfolio company controlled by the firm, and was paid a flat fee of $12,000. In October 2013, when the defendant had not yet raised any money for the portfolio company, GANGULY allegedly claimed that his mother would invest $300,000 from their nonexistent family trust, and that he and his affiliated investors would contribute up to $2 million to the company. In order to further this scheme, GANGULY is accused of sending emails from multiple accounts he created purporting to be from fictitious employees assisting with his business ventures. Based upon these false representations, GANGULY’s consultancy agreement was renewed, and he was paid an additional $15,000 fee.
Assistant District Attorney Beth Potashnick is prosecuting this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Brenda Fischer, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Rackets Investigator Daniel Murphy, Supervising Rackets Investigator Robert Muldoon, and Assistant District Attorney Amyjane Rettew, Appellate Counsel for the Investigation Division, assisted with the investigation. Cybercrime Analyst Meredith Foster is also assisting with the case.
ARUN GANGULY, D.O.B. 3/29/1977
San Jose, CA
- Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
- Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
- Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, 52 counts
- Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 8 counts
- Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 5 counts
- Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count