February 24, 2024

Transportation engineer Kumar Arun Neppalli of Cary, North Carolina, was sentenced to 44 months in federal prison in connection with a Ponzi investment fraud scam. The 57-year-old Indian American, who pleaded guilty in September to 17 counts of wire fraud,  is also ordered to pay almost $1 million in restitution to the victim, according to court documents. 

Citing a 2021 investigation, News & Observer reported that Neppalli was “accused of bilking 15 investors out of $1.9 million in business loans that he acquired through his connections with the Triangle’s Indian community.” 

He resigned from his traffic planning job with the town of Chapel Hill in November 2021, after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

According to court documents, Neppalli relied on his “good standing within the Indian American community in Cary to defraud numerous victims under the pretense that he would invest their money in a legitimate real estate development in the Orange County area.” He leveraged his employment with the town of Chapel Hill to convince the victims that he had insider knowledge of development plans concerning the purported real estate. 

He would request a specific amount of money within a short timeframe, sometimes the same day, to facilitate closing the transaction, and “promised a return of the principal investment plus a profit within a few months.” He often asks his victims not to discuss the transaction with other members of the…

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