The owner of a U.S.-based online freight services company specializing in international transportation has been arrested on suspicion of orchestrating an investment scheme, according to prosecutors.
Kamlesh Pardasani, 49, appeared in federal court in North Carolina on Jan. 7 on charges of defrauding at least five investors of more than $800,000. A June 2018 indictment against Pardasani was unsealed in November 2019 after he was arrested at Philadelphia International Airport upon entering the U.S. from India, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
The alleged scheme involving Pardasani’s company, FreightGuru.com LLC, took place from August 2016 to June 2017. Pardasani “falsely represented that he would use the investors’ money to fund a specific shipment of goods, and that, once the shipment cleared, the victims’ return rate on their initial investment would be between 15% and 20%,” according to prosecutors.
The indictment also alleges that Pardasani lied to victims by “falsely assuring them that their funds were secure and safe, when in fact he used the victims’ money to fund his lifestyle, pay off personal creditors, and to engage in high-risk securities trading in his personal trading account.” After failing to invest the funds as promised, Pardasani continued to make false promises “to lull victims and provide excuses for failing to return the victims’ money.”
A phone number for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company was disconnected. A blogpost linked to the company’s Facebook page stated that “cheap international shipping and a premium service from America to Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and beyond is what FreightGuru does best.” Other blog posts linked to the Facebook page promoting the company include subjects such as “How to pack same day shipping orders,” “How to choose the best freight solutions” and “The benefits of using air freight services.”
Pardasani is charged with wire fraud and money laundering, which carry maximum prison terms of 20 years and 10 years, respectively, along with fines of $250,000.