ST. LOUIS – A Fenton man has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a wire fraud scheme that led him to $1.1 million.

Harish Sunkara pleaded guilty to two federal charges of aggravated identity theft. In federal court Thursday, he admitted to bilking investors with false claims of lucrative contracts with a Texas airport.

From Sept. 2, 2020 through at least Nov. 16, 2021, Sunkara reportedly told potential investors that he had won contracts with the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. His company, Pace Solutions, had won a $49,500 contract to provide the airport with IT training software.

Investigators said Sunkara forged, altered and fraudulent versions of legitimate contract documents from the past to convince investors that he’d won far larger contracts, worth between $750,000 and $950,000. The documents also included a forged signature of the airport’s contract administrator.

Several investors wired Sunkara anywhere from $100,000 to $645,000 to his bank account. After the investors wired money, investigators say Sunkara spent some of his earnings at casinos in Missouri and Nevada.

Sunkara has a sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 1. He could be sentenced up to four years in prison and fined up to $250,000. A federal prosecutor says he will also be ordered to repay the money.

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