A Naperville woman and her brother-in-law were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday for allegedly defrauding investors through their west suburban management company and spending millions with bogus checks.
Nandita Chatterjee, 36, and Neil Varma, a 34-year-old from New York, were charged with soliciting money from investors that they instead used to “maintain their lifestyle,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Starting in 2011, Chaterjee was the president and CEO of CS Management, Inc. in Oakbrook Terrace, with Varma serving as chief financial officer, prosecutors said. They also ran Chatterjee Pharmaceuticals, supposedly operating in India.
The pair took investors’ money for themselves while spending more than $12 million with checks drawn on nonexistent or insufficient bank accounts to pay other people back, prosecutors said. Sometimes they mailed empty envelopes to investors, or took money from Fidelity Investments and other family members, prosecutors said.
As part of the scheme, Chatterjee falsely posed as an attorney, funneling her fees to Varma and other accounts for their benefit, prosecutors said. She also made million-dollar donations to universities with checks that she knew were worthless, prosecutors said.
Chatterjee and Varma promoted star-studded charitable concerts and fundraisers, taking donations for the productions, which they never followed through on, prosecutors said.
They each were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud; six counts of mail fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, one count of money laundering, one count of using counterfeit and forged checks, and one count of illegal monetary transaction.
If convicted of all counts, their sentences could top 300 years in prison. They are scheduled to appear in federal court in Chicago on June 28.