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Florida NRI CEO charged with $30 Million Ponzi-like Fraud Scheme, faces 20 years in prison

Navin Shankar Subramaniam Xavier, CEO of Essex Holdings Inc. charged with $30 Million Fraud Ponzi-like scheme to rip off investors. Involving Investments in Sugar Transportation and Iron Ore Mining, and Unlawfully Obtaining Economic Development Funds

Navin, 44, faces a maximum statutory sentence of twenty years in prison for each count and a fine up to $250,000. 
United States Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer, for the Southern District of Florida and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office told media that he was charged with two separate fraud schemes totaling more than $30 million.  The first scheme involved nearly 100 investors who purportedly purchased interests in sugar transportation and iron ore mining in Chile.  The second scheme involved unlawfully obtaining economic development funds from the State of South Carolina.

Xavier used several aliases.

  • The Department of Justice announcement of his plea lists “Shankar Subramaniam Xavier” and “Navin Xavier.
  • Some time he used Navin Subramaniam, Subramaniam Xavier S. Navin, Navin Subramaniam-Xavier, Xavier Navin Subramaniam.
  • Eviction notices from Tempe, Arizona, in February 2010 show him as “Navin Xavier” and from June 2010 in Tempe as “Navin Subrarmaniam.”

According to court documents, .he didn’t earn the degrees but:

  • He claimed to have a doctorate in information technology from Nova Southeastern as well as an MBA from Tiffin University in Ohio and a bachelor’s in computer science and business management from the University of Minnesota.

September 2010-May 2014:

Navin Shankar Subramaniam operated Essex Holdings, Inc from an office in Miami Gardens, and raised more than $29 million from nearly 100 investors for supposed investments in sugar transportation and shipping, as well as iron ore mining in Chile. 

  • Navin used a false financial statement, forged documents, and false promises of fixed rates of return, to induce investors to invest with Essex Holdings. 
  • Most of the money was used for purposes other than what was promised, including to support lavish spending by him and his wife for expensive jewelry, luxury vehicles, wedding expenses, and cosmetic surgery. 
  • He used new investor money to pay old investors in a Ponzi-like fashion before the scheme collapsed.

2nd scheme involved:

  • The second scheme involved Xavier using Essex Holdings to obtain $1.2 million in payments and approximately $1.5 million worth of commercial real estate from the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development (“SCCCED”), a division of the South Carolina state government, that was supposed to be used to develop a dilapidated industrial property into a diaper plant and rice packaging facility. 
  • Xavier provided false financial documentation to SCCCED in order  to obtain the contract, and later provided fake contractor invoices and fake bank statements in order to get paid under the contract.   As with the investment fraud scheme, Xavier spent the development money for his personal living expenses, and wired some of it to the same overseas accounts used in the investment fraud. 

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Miami Regional Office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the South Carolina Office of Inspector General, for assisting with this matter.  The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jerrob Duffy and Allison Lehr.