Federal prosecutors in Newark yesterday charged Dinesh Dalmia - a financier now being detained in India - with masterminding an $80 million swindle that victimized dozens of U.S. banks, investment firms and equipment finance companies.
If extradited and convicted on all counts, Dalmia faces up to 40 years in prison.
Dalmia allegedly had been running his scamming operation from a mansion in Fort Lee, N.J., since late 2003.
He had fled India for the U.S. to escape questioning regarding his role in a massive securities fraud scheme that shook the Calcutta Stock Exchange at the turn of the decade.
Last January, Dalmia fled again - this time from the U.S. after a series of articles in The Post exposed him as the apparent head of a New Jersey-based white-collar crime syndicate.
He was apprehended by Indian authorities after returning to his native country early last month.
The evasive tycoon is now being held under court orders for involuntary "scientific treatment" under a controversial Indian government program that includes "brain mapping" and chemical injections to force criminal defendants to cooperate during interrogations.
According to press reports in India, the government wants Dalmia to divulge the whereabouts of more than $100 million that he allegedly looted from investors in that country.
Dalmia first came to the attention of federal authorities after a series of exposés in The Post revealed him to have been living openly in Fort Lee, N.J., since late 2003, despite a worldwide Interpol arrest notice.
The Post coverage identified Dalmia as the alleged mastermind behind the looting of a North Brunswick, N.J., computer-services company called Allserve Systems Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in Newark last November.
The Post drew back the curtain on Dalmia's operations, from secret offshore bank accounts, to his alleged use of forged invoices for bogus companies at fake addresses - all to swindle blue-chip lenders such as IBM Credit Corp. out of millions in equipment finance contracts.
Federal prosecutors and the FBI, which launched a nationwide probe of Dalmia's activities, eventually identified some 20 different multi-million dollar contracts with swindled lenders from San Francisco to Boston.
The government is believed to be preparing criminal charges against additional individuals in the probe as well.