Walnut Creek Man Sentenced for Fraud and Mone…

Walnut Creek Man Sentenced for Fraud and Money Laundering

OAKLAND – LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Roger L. Wirth, and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Douglas announced that on October 23, 2006, Lal Bhatia was sentenced to 48 months in prison, and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and $894,531 in restitution, for his role in a scheme that defrauded investors out of approximately $1.5 million. This sentence is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mr. Bhatia was convicted on February 28, 2006, on twenty-seven counts of mail fraud and money laundering after a two-week trial. Evidence at trial showed that Mr. Bhatia, 39, of Walnut Creek, California, acting as CEO of his business, ABE Technologies Inc. (ABE), induced investors to make investments with him by making a number of false representations. The false representations included statements to investors that prominent persons in the business community, including Bill Gates of Microsoft, Michael Dell of Dell Computers, and Sabeer Bhatia, the founder of Hotmail, were investing in or purchasing shares of ABE. Evidence at trial proved that these statements were false. Sabeer Bhatia, no relation to the defendant, testified at trial that he had never met nor done business with the defendant. Evidence presented at trial also showed that Mr. Bhatia falsely told potential investors that a fictitious multi-billion dollar Swiss banking entity was backing him, and that he had provided the investors with forged documents to further his scheme.

The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation conducted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Stephen G. Corrigan and Dana Wagner are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who successfully prosecuted this case with the assistance of Kathleen Glynn, Cynthia Daniel and Noble Hughes.

Further Information:

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]

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