The man who stole $10 million from a city fund to help identify World Trade Center victims is fighting to hold onto the $400,000 he has left in an Indian bank account. The Daily News spoke with Natarajan Venkataraman from a New Jersey federal prison, and said he "whined about jail conditions and apologized repeatedly for his crime," but when asked about his fight for the remainder of the money, he said, "All the issues are still pending in the court."
Venkataraman was working at the medical examiner's office after the attacks, and he and his girlfriend began funneling millions of dollars the city received from the federal government into "shell companies and fake contract bids." Venkataraman pled guilty in 2005 and received 15 years in jail, while his girlfriend got six, but before he was arrested he transferred $1 million into bank accounts in India. Around $400,000 remains.
The city has recovered $7 million of the $10 that was stolen, and is executing an $8 million judgement against Venkataraman to recover as much as they can. "It may or may not be out there, but if it is out there we're certainly going to do everything we can to find it," a Law Department spokesman says.