GigaTrust founder Robert Bernardi, other to executives charged with $50 million fraud scheme

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Robert Bernardi, the founder and former CEO of GigaMedia Access Corporation doing business as GigaTrust, has been arrested and charged with a $50 million fraud scheme.

GigaTrust is an email security company based in Virginia. Authorities also arrested and charged Nihat Cardak and Sunil Chandra, the company’s former CFO and VP of Business Development. Both were also charged for their role in the scheme to defraud investors and lenders.

Charges against the former GigaTrust top executives

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Bernardi, Cardak, and Chandra orchestrated a scheme to defraud investors and lenders while serving as top executives of GigaTrust from at least 2026 to about 2019.

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Their scheme to defraud investors and lenders include:

  1. fabricating and disseminating false and misleading bank account statements that overstated GigaTrust’s cash deposits;
  2. fabricating and disseminating false and misleading audit materials that purported to have been issued by GigaTrust’s auditors and overstated GigaTrust’s performance;
  3. forging and disseminating a false and misleading letter purporting to be from GigaTrust’s New York-based counsel;
  4.  impersonating or causing others to impersonate a purported customer and auditor of GigaTrust on telephone calls with a prospective lender.

The indictment against the defendants specifically alleged that Bernardi send false audit materials to an investment firm in New York. He and Cardak used fabricated false statements to obtain multiple loans and investments worth millions of dollars for GigaTrust. The defendants obtained a $25 million loan from a New York-based bank. The email security company defaulted on the terms of its loan agreement.

Bernardi and Cardak also obtained additional investments in GigaTrust by faking a letter pretending to be from GigaTrust counsel in New York. They negotiated another $25 million deal with a lender, which requested diligence calls. The defendants devised a scheme to impersonate a GigaTrust customer and auditor to close the deal. Bernardi persuaded Chandra to pretend as a GigaTrust customer on a call with the lender. Bernardi and Cardak also sent fake bank statements to the lender before closing the $25 million deal

GigaTrust filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the District of Delaware in November 2019.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams charged Bernardi and Cardak with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and one count of aggravated identity theft

U.S. Attorney Williams charged Chandra with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

“As alleged, the defendants—the founder and other senior executives at GigaTrust—participated in a scheme to trick investors into providing the company millions of dollars.  Today’s indictment alleging a fraud scheme of over $50 million ensures that they will be held accountable for their conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Williams in a statement.

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