400 Yuba County Jobs Gone After Business Owner Accused Of Ponzi Scheme

YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — A Sacramento businessman’s arrest for alleged fraud is leading to fallout in Yuba County as plans for a manufacturing plant he promised have suddenly stopped.

The big warehouse was a place of big hopes for the county, but now it’s just a big reminder of what might have been.

“We felt very comfortable working with them, and that they were moving forward,” said Yuba County Administrator Robert Bendorf.

He’s a former sheriff’s deputy who also investigated fraud, and he never saw this coming.

Deepal Wannakuwatte told Yuba County he was going to start making his gloves in what would become Yuba County’s largest manufacturing plant and create as many as 400 jobs.

Now he’s behind bars, accused of running a ponzi scheme and taking as much as $125 million from investors with lies.

Federal court documents show just last month he was altering paperwork orders and whiting out sections. The final version would show an invoice for $12 million in gloves, when the original invoice was just $257.

So now a region already struggling with double-digit unemployment won’t be seeing those hundreds of jobs.

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