A former Indian American auditor at an Orange County commercial real estate agency has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $2.7 million from his employer by submitting fictitious invoices for companies controlled by his family and friends, whose services never were performed.
Varun Aggarwal, 41, of Irvine, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud Monday, according to a press release from US Attorney’s Office, Central District of California.
US District Judge Cormac J. Carney has scheduled a January 22, 2024, sentencing hearing, at which time Aggarwal will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
According to his plea agreement, from 2008 to January 2022, Aggarwal worked in the internal auditing department of the Newport Beach-based KBS Realty Advisors and rose to the level of the departmentâ€™s director.
Beginning at least as early as January 2012 and continuing until January 2022, Aggarwal used his position at KBS to embezzle his employerâ€™s money. As a member of the companyâ€™s internal auditing group, Aggarwal was familiar with KBSâ€™s policies and procedures for payments to vendors.
Aggarwal used his knowledge of KBSâ€™s policies and procedures to have his friends and family serve as approved vendors to do contracting work for KBS, the release stated.
After several of these companies became approved vendors for KBS, Aggarwal used these approved vendors to submit fraudulent invoices for consulting services that were not performed for the company.
He then funneled the payments on the invoices from KBS to his own bank accounts â€“ through the approved vendors â€“ at times without informing the vendors that the invoices and the payments on the invoices were for his own benefit.
In carrying out this scheme, Aggarwal fraudulently obtained approximately $2,729,718 from KBS that he caused it to pay to the approved vendors that ultimately went to himself.
Aggarwal resigned from KBS in January 2022 after the company began investigating the invoices, according to court documents.