A high-profile Indian-American businessman with Bollywood connections has pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud amounting to $33 million.
Vijay K. Taneja, 47, owns a company called Financial Mortgage Inc. in neighbouring Fairfax county. He also produced films such as Aap ka Surroor and brought many top Bollywood stars to the area for performances.
The Washington Post described it as the largest mortgage fraud case in Virginia in almost 20 years and among the largest in the country. The paper quoted prosecutors as saying he created bogus mortgage loans and sold legitimate loans to more than one buyer.
Taneja admitted in US District Court in Alexandria on Thursday that he used the money to finance his entertainment ventures, the Post reported.
According to the website bollywoodconcerts.com, Taneja’s Elite Entertainment Inc. has been promoting concerts by Indian movie stars for more than a decade.
Its list of performers includes Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Hritik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherji, Salman Khan, Sunjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Sonu Nigam and A.R. Rahman.
The Post quoted those who know Taneja as saying his celebrity image made people trust him.
He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $5,00,000.