WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – The Rev. Samuel Solanky, who had a religious show on cable TV called “Vandana,” defrauded believers and investors of $3 million in a “nonexistent jewelry business,” federal prosecutors say.
Prosecutors say Solanky, who “was employed by at least one church to assist in the broadcasting of religious services on cable television,” ran the scam through his Web site, vandana.org and also used the business names “Gems of the Bible,” “Blessings and Love Productions,” “South Asian Gospel Broadcasting,” and “India at Our Doorsteps.”
He promised 100 percent returns on his “nonexistent jewelry business” that he claimed bought jewels in Indian for resale in the United States, according to the indictment.
“Often, victims wired the money directly into bank accounts controlled by Solanky,” the indictment states. Solanky is charged with running the scam from June 2005 through July 2009.
Solanky, 62, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 26.