Alleged Crypto Thief Buys 39 Teslas With OPM

A man in Las Vegas has been charged with allegedly orchestrating a cryptocurrency scam. According to the charge, his crimes involved stealing $45 million in crypto starting in June 2018. But he also amassed a fleet of 39 brand-new Teslas, as well as several other cars and other luxury items. What Neil Suresh Chandran planned to do with the Teslas remains a mystery, as of now.

What were the crimes and why so many Teslas?

Tesla Evs
Brand new Tesla cars sit in a parking lot | Getty

The Justice Department says his crimes involved scamming over 10,000 people during those four years. The fraud involved sending out emails to wealthy investors, in which he said that investing under $100,000 would reap $2 trillion. According to the charges, there was nothing to justify his claims, and it was all a big scam.

A federal grand jury indicted Chandran last month over an investment scheme. Clients sent him money because one of his businesses, called “ViRSE,” was in the process of being sold to rich investors. He claimed one of the said companies “was about to be purchased by a consortium of wealthy buyers and thereby yield his investors extremely high returns.” He also claimed to own cryptocurrency and virtual reality companies, as well as other virtual world technologies.

Was Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos involved in the crime?

Money honey
Lots of cash | Getty

He also listed both Elon Musk, in the charges called “founder and CEO of an electric car company,” and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, referred to as “founder and executive chairman of a large online retailing company,” as investors. They’re also referred to as “Billionaire 1” and “Billionaire 2.” Neither “Billionaire” was involved in any of Chandrand’s schemes or businesses. 

According to the arrest reports, he owned five different homes sprinkled between California and Nevada. The feds also discovered a horde of money. Assets included a Swiss diamond watch, a Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, a boat, three RVs, two pickup trucks, a number of other vehicles, and those 39 Tesla EVs. Of those Teslas, there were three Model X, four Model S, 15 Model 3, and 16 Model Y EVs. All of his assets are subject to forfeiture if found guilty. 

They included Free Vi Lab, Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc., ViMarket Inc., and Skalex USA Inc. Chandran claimed he created his own cryptocurrency for his different companies’ metaverse, according to the Department of Justice.

How much prison time for these alleged crimes?

handcuffs
Policemen escort a handcuffed suspect | Getty

Other charges involve money laundering, though the indictment does not shed light on those crimes. There are also numerous wire fraud charges, and the use of stolen or illegally obtained property. Each offense carries a 20-year sentence. 

The Department of Justice reminds everyone that, “An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,”