Neil Chandran, 50, of Las Vegas, Nevada, United States owned a group of technology companies including Free Vi Lab, Skalex USA Inc., Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc. and ViMarket Inc. These companies developed their own cryptocurrency and other virtual-world technologies for use in the companies’ own metaverse.
Chandran is accused of using his companies in a scheme to defraud investors. He allegedly falsely promised extremely high returns on the premise that a consortium of wealthy buyers was about to acquire one or more of his companies that operated under the banner of ViRSE.
However, there was no such group prepared to buy the companies. Instead, a substantial portion of the funds were misappropriated for the personal benefit of Chandran and others and other business ventures.
In particular, Chandran is accused of defrauding more than 10,000 victims of over $45 million. On June 14, 2022, a federal grand jury in Nebraska, USA returned an indictment charging him with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property.
On June 29, 2022, Chandran was arrested in Los Angeles, California, USA. If convicted, the Las Vegas resident faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud counts and up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.
According to the indictment, Chandran caused other individuals to make various materially false and misleading representations to investors. The indictment alleges that 100 different assets are subject to forfeiture as proceeds of the fraud.
The assets are real estate, bank accounts and luxury vehicles, including 39 Tesla vehicles. U.S. Marshals and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are seizing most of the assets pending resolution of the criminal case, which is being prosecuted by U.S. Department of Justice fraud section assistant chief William E. Johnston and trial attorney Tian Huang.