Lexington woman given 42 months for wire fraud, money laundering

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — A Lexington woman was sentenced to 42 months in prison last week for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Jyoti Agrawal, 51, was a co-owner of ScienceTomorrow, with Subhadarshi Nayak. In December 2013, Agrawal and Nayak agreed to electronically submit a proposal with a fabricated letter of support from a subcontractor to increase their chances of receiving a Phase II SBIR grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for $999,266, evidence presented at Agrawal’s trial showed.

The next year, the grant was awarded to ScienceTomorrow. Agrawal was also given $500,000 from Kentucky’s state matching funds program based on the grant award. After, Agrawal controlled the money and Nayak left the project early on.

Bank records shown in the trial say Agrawal had personally accumulated over $440,000 of DOE grant funds. Agrawal also spent an additional $146,000 of the DOE funds on an Executive MBA degree in Chicago. Agrawal then submitted false certifications to the DOE, stating all funds had been expended in accordance with the DOE’s terms and conditions.

She was convicted in April 2022.

As part of her sentencing, Agrawal was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,048,255 to the DOE and $500,000 to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Office of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Innovation (SBIR state matching funds program).

Nayak was sentenced in December 2021.

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