A FIJIAN living in the US last week pleaded guilty to wire and bankruptcy fraud in the Sacramento Federal Court linked to a multimillion dollar scandal involving Fiji islanders, The Sacramento Bee news agency reported last week.
Vincent Thakur Singh, a native of Fiji, filed for bankruptcy protection after targeting about 200 Fijians of Indian descent in an investment fraud that grossed about $US20million ($F36.886m).
"Singh, operating through an entity he created called Perfect Financial Group Inc., told victims he was a 'hard moneylender', that their investments would be used to make safe loans, and that they would recover the principal, plus as much as a 30 per cent return in a matter of months, a grand jury indictment alleges," according to the story.
"In fact, court papers say Singh used $US12m ($F22.1m) of investors' funds for gambling, made currency withdrawals totalling $US2m ($F3.6mm), spent $US880,000 ($F1.6m) on a failed film project in New Zealand and spent over $US1m ($F1.8m) on other ventures, all contrary to the promises he made to those who trusted him with their money."
According to The Sacramento Bee, Singh also used millions of dollars to make payments to earlier investors.
"The exercise gave Perfect Financial a false veneer of success. According to a written plea bargain between Assistant US Attorney Matthew Segal and Singh and his lawyer, Singh made a bankruptcy filing on Aug. 19, 2010 yet failed to disclose 19 of the bank accounts he had used in the investment fraud scheme."
The 45-year-old has been in custody since 2010 until his sentencing on June 12.