Montgomery Township Man Sentenced to Prison for Orchestrating COVID-19 Fraud
By Barbara A. Preston | July 21, 2022 - Updated on July 28, 2022
GauravJit “Raj” Singh, 27, of Montgomery Township was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for orchestrating a $2 million COVID-19 fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on July 21. Singh had been a volunteer member of the Montgomery EMS until he graduated from Montgomery High School in 2013.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020, Singh engaged in a scheme to defraud and to enrich himself by fraudulently inducing 10 victims to send him more than $2 million to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE).
He then stole the money, and did not provide the PPE to the victims as promised, according to documents filed in this case and statements made in court. Singh also struck a deal to be paid $7.1 million for 1.5 million medical gowns, which ultimately were to be sourced to the city of New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney.
The victims wired Singh, though his company GJS Solutions LLC, $712,500, representing a 10 percent initial deposit for the medical gowns. After receiving these funds from the victims, Singh made additional misrepresentations and excuses to the victims, ensuring them that they would receive the medical gowns.
Instead of purchasing and delivering medical gowns, Singh used the funds for personal expenses. These included: 33 transactions with online gaming entities, totaling approximately $21,700; $5,100 for a payment on a luxury automobile; and $1,700 to a Thai restaurant in Florida, according to a Criminal Complaint filed in US District Court of New Jersey.
Originally born in India, Singh moved to New Jersey with his family when he was 5. He started his first business building and selling 3D printers. He then went on to develop NovaBionics, a company that developed prosthetic limbs, according to https://technical.ly/.
As a 19-year-old freshman at Drexel University in Philadelphia, he came up with a drone advertising startup called DroneCast. Singh told technical.ly that his startup logged $1.5 million in revenue in 2014.
Singh also appeared in Fortune Magazine, also Fortune.com on August 27, 2014 for this ‘drone-vertising’ startup. “People have been using drones for photography for a few years now. Then it hit me,” Singh told Fortune. “What happened with the Internet? People put ads everywhere. I wanted to do the same thing with drones.” “Think of the prop planes that fly parallel to beaches [at the Jersey Shore] with big banners billowing behind them announcing deals on salt-water taffy. Now take that banner, stack the letters on top of one other until they spell out a word, and fasten it to the underbelly of a quadcopter. “For this, Singh turned his back on studying biomedical engineering at Drexel University,” according to the Fortune article.
He says investors had already committed $1 million to his Philadelphia-based startup, which aims to take a piece of a $7 billion “out of home” advertising market that includes conventional billboards, transit ads, and socalled street furniture, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
Singh declined to name any customers in his interview with Technical.ly, but, according to www.suasnews.com, the BeachGlow Music Festival in Wildwood hired DroneCast to drop glow sticks on partygoers using small DJI Phantom 2 quadcopters, each of which weighs about three pounds, from about six feet above the heads of festival-goers. And, an 8-lb S1000 drone hoisted a 3-foot-wide by 10-foot-tall banner 22 feet into the air, according to suasnews.
DroneCast has got national press hits in Mashable and ABC. The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled that using drones for any type of commercial activity is illegal. This has been challenged, but companies have been bogged down with fines and lawsuits, making it unfeasible.
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Charles Paddock, a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, said in the criminal complaint that Singh was associated with and believed to be the owner of Mask Medical, LLC (“Mask Medical”), established in New Jersey in or around March 2020, and GJS Solutions, LLC (“GJS”), established in New York in or around January 2018.
Singh pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan to one count of wire fraud in September. In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Singh to three years of supervised release. U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and intelligence analysts of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren E. Repole, Chief of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.