56-year-old Kumar Arun Neppalli of Cary, NC has been arrested after being indicted on 23 counts of wire fraud.
Allegedly, Neppalli told people of his community, both in-person and over the telephone, that he was seeking investors for a real estate project in Orange County, NC. Neppalli would collect money from unsuspecting victims under the false premise of investing in real estate and use that money to pay back earlier ‘investors’ with interest. This endless cycle is known as a “Ponzi” scheme and typically ends with the leader of the Ponzi scheme disappearing with the money collected by victims.
“He promised to invest their money in property. Instead, Neppalli used the funds to pay back other people he swindled as part of his scheme; now, multiple victims are left without their much-needed savings,” said Michael C. Scherck, FBI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge.
Neppalli reportedly used his positive reputation in the local Indian community to help manipulate his victims into giving him money.
Neppalli worked for the town of Chapel Hill and leveraged his position in the local government in an attempt to prove his legitimacy, stating that he had insider information. Allegedly, Neppalli told victims that he needed a specific amount of money within a short period of time and to not tell others about the business transaction due to a non-disclosure agreement. Neppalli worked as a Traffic Engineer for the town for over 20 years and resigned near the end of 2021 after filing for bankruptcy.
Neppalli is expected to appear in court later this year.