SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Deepal Wannakuwatte, 63, of Sacramento, was charged in a three-count indictment returned today with bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
Wannakuwatte has been in custody since his arrest on February 21, 2014. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 21, 2014.
According to the indictment, beginning in September 2011, Wannakuwatte sought a line of credit from Bridge Bank. He claimed the funds obtained through the line of credit would be used to improve a glove manufacturing facility he owned in Olivehurst. Wannakuwatte claimed that his companies, IMG and Relyaid, were involved in the international manufacture, shipment, and distribution of latex gloves and did more than $100 million of business with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs every year. These claims were not true but were made in order to appear more credit worthy. Upon receiving funds, Wannakuwatte used the money to pay outstanding debts unrelated to the purpose of the loan.
The indictment alleges that between October and December 2011, Wannakuwatte provided Bridge Bank with a number of false documents, including personal and corporate tax returns that overstated his gross income and the gross receipts and sales for IMG, a false corporate financial statement from IMG that was purportedly reviewed by a CPA, and a false accounts receivable ledger detailing more than $25 million in accounts receivable from the VA.
In early December 2011, Wannakuwatte set up a conference call between himself, an IMG employee, and a Bridge Bank representative. The conference call was made to verify the authenticity of the $25 million accounts receivable ledger provided by Wannakuwatte. At Wannakuwatte’s direction, the IMG employee pretended to be a VA representative. Using a series of talking points provided by Wannakuwatte, the IMG employee told the Bridge Bank representative that there were more than 60 invoices showing a total of more than $25.8 million in payments owed by the VA to IMG. In fact, there were no such invoices, and no such debt was owed by the VA to IMG.
Based on the false representations, Bridge Bank authorized a line of credit worth $4.5 million. Wannakuwatte subsequently drew down the line of credit, taking approximately $4.3 million from Bridge Bank.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Beckwith is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Wannakuwatte faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each count. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.