A 41-year-old Indian-American former executive has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $2.7 million from his employer. Varun Aggarwal, who worked at a commercial real estate agency in California, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of wire fraud for submitting fictitious invoices for companies controlled by his family and friends, whose services never were performed. Aggarwal’s sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2024, and he faces 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 department’s director.
Beginning at least as early as January 2012 and continuing until January 2022, Aggarwal used his position at KBS to embezzle his employer’s money, a Department of Justice statement said. As a member of the company’s internal auditing group, Aggarwal was familiar with KBS’s policies and procedures for payments to vendors. He used his knowledge of KBS’s policies and procedures to have his friends and family serve as approved vendors to do contracting work for KBS. 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 funnelled the payments on the invoices from KBS to his own bank accounts — through the approved vendors — 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 nearly $2,729,718 from KBS that he caused it to pay to the approved vendors that ultimately went to himself. He resigned from KBS in January 2022 after the company began investigating the invoices, according to court documents.