BEVERLY — A Beverly man who pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud charges earlier this year, in what prosecutors characterized as a Ponzi-style scheme to finance his jet-setting lifestyle, was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Wednesday by a federal judge.
Tanmaya Kabra, 27, will face the prospect of $1.84 million in restitution payments when he’s released, along with a $15,000 fine.
Kabra presented himself as an “angel investor” who convinced at least 20 people to invest in his startups, promising dramatic 20 to 30% returns, prosecutors said.
Judge Denise Casper was forced to weigh two very different depictions of Kabra during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing: The version offered by prosecutors of a man “fueled by greed,” and that of his lawyers, who called him a “talented young entrepreneur” who got in over his head.
“The motive for Kabra’s crimes was nothing but greed and avarice: He simply wanted to live a luxurious lifestyle — and felt entitled to spend his victims’ money to do so,” prosecutors Christopher Looney and James Herbert wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Over the course of his scheme, he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars — stolen from his victims — on extravagant travel, a boat, nightclubs, and other luxury items.”
Prosecutors were seeking a 41-month sentence in federal prison and an order that Kabra pay $1.8 million in restitution.
His attorneys, Michael Connolly and Julianna Malogolowkin, say he’s already paid a high price, including a couple of months in custody, two years restricted by an ankle bracelet, and “his reputation permanently destroyed in the media.” They asked for a period of home confinement and said his client is already working to repay victims.
“Mr. Kabra admits his guilt, accepts full responsibility for his criminal conduct, is genuinely remorseful, and is committed to fully repaying the victims for their losses, as is demonstrated by the $800,000 already deposited in the Court’s escrow account for that purpose,” the defense lawyers wrote. “But the government is wrong to characterize Mr. Kabra as a one-dimensional thief consumed solely by avarice and greed. While he has broken the law, Mr. Kabra is a talented young entrepreneur who has spent very significant parts of his very young adult life trying to do good, worthy and valuable work.”
They say that his actions were driven by a desperate effort to keep his business going.
Prosecutors say, however, that Kabra’s intent was from the start to finance a jet-set lifestyle on the backs of at least 28 people who invested with him. They called it “premeditated to the extreme.”
They say Kabra strung his victims along with false promises. They also say Kabra continues to blame others. “According to Kabra, he is the real victim here,” the prosecutors wrote in their memo. They noted a website that Kabra created after his release on bail.
His lawyers, meanwhile, say that he was simply “a young, ambitious, inexperienced man that got in over his head and made bad decisions.”
“Mr. Kabra did not set out to steal from his clients or investors,” Connolly and Malogolowkin wrote. “While he fully owns and regrets that he resorted to fraudulent misrepresentations to lenders and certain clients, that was not his initial plan, but rather the unfortunate result of succumbing to the temptation to seeming quick solutions to mounting business pressures.”
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.