Ex-Calgary TV producer arrested on U.S. fraud charges

A former Calgary television producer who was banned from trading in securities in Alberta two years ago is now facing felony charges in the United States.

Neil Chandran was indicted earlier this month on grand larceny, forgery and securities fraud stemming from an alleged scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors in a business selling computer tablets which supposedly were able to display content in 3D, according to a release by the office of the New York Attorney General.

In 2014, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) investigated Chandran and his production company Energy TV on accusations they illegally raised about $39 million from 2007 to 2009 from hundreds of investors, mainly in Alberta, who were falsely promised very lucrative returns.

The following year, the ASC fined Chandran and his companies $400,000 and barred him permanently from trading in securities in the province or being an officer or director of a company that does. He has still not paid the fine, and the ASC is "taking steps to collect on the amount owing," the commission said in an email to CBC News. 

The charges laid in New York stem from one complainant who claimed to have invested $466,000 in 2014 in the alleged 3D tablet scheme and has not received any of the promised returns on the investment.

"In an effort to pacify the investor, Chandran is alleged to have presented the investor with a fraudulent stock certificate purporting to show an ownership interest in a corporation that had ceased to exist almost two years prior to the date of issuance," the New York Attorney General's office said.

Officials are still investigating whether Chandran and his former company, Sungame Corp., stole  millions of dollars from other investors in New York State.

Chandran was arrested at the Los Angeles County Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers as he returned to the United States from Hong Kong.

Bail for Chandran was set at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash.

If convicted of the New York charges, Chandran faces up to 15 years in prison.

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