Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea 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 pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to one count each of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees, and Identity Theft in the First Degree. He is expected to be sentenced on April 8, 2015.
“After deceiving numerous people from coast to coast by completely fabricating his past experience, personal wealth, and ability to fund their companies, Arun Ganguly has finally acknowledged the depth of his fraud,” said District Attorney Vance. “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. I would like to thank my Office’s prosecutors for unraveling this web of deceit, as well as the victims who brought this case to our attention. I encourage those who feel they may be victims of identity theft to contact our Cybercrime Hotline at (212) 335-9600.”
According to the defendant’s guilty plea 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 made 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 scheme, GANGULY falsely purported to have a personal relationship with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, 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 Narendra 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 sent more than 500 emails purporting to be Narendra, Chatterjee, and Howard and Tyler Winklevoss. Additionally, GANGULY forged 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 scam, GANGULY made 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 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 sent 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 prosecuted 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 also assisted with the case.
District Attorney Vance thanked K2 Intelligence for its assistance with the investigation.
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, 1 count
- Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count