The alleged mastermind of a get-out-of-debt scheme based in Wethersfield was arraigned on mail fraud and conspiracy charges Tuesday morning.
The federal complaint accuses Deowraj Buddhu of bilking money out of mostly non-English speaking customers by promising his customers access to a supposed secret stash of federal money.
Some customers wound up in foreclosure as a result and papers filed in civil court reveal there could be as many as 200 alleged victims.
Buddhu was arrested Monday evening by Internal Revenue Service agents. He spent the night at the Wethersfield Police Department's jail.
In federal court in Hartford Tuesday, prosecutors argued Buddhu posed a flight risk. Buddhu denied that and spoke several times in court regarding his health, saying he has a very weak heart and that any changes in his routine could cause his death.
The judge confined Buddhu to U.S. Marshals until his next hearing and made sure Buddhu will receive medical care in the meantime.
Buddhu's public defender could not be reached for comment.
The federal complaint accuses Buddhu's daughter, Sunita, of being part of the same scheme. She is currently being sought by law enforcement.
The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters caught up with Sunita Buddhu a few weeks before her father's arrest.
"Honestly, I don't know what's going on," Sunita Buddhu said.
Sunita Buddhu notarizes many of her father's documents and invoices, including massive bills to NBC Connecticut received after earlier reports.
"I am a notary. I do notarize things for him but I don't, as a notary, I don't need to know what's in there," Sunita Buddhu said.
Court records accuse Sunita Buddhu of notarizing papers prior to a customer signing. The Secretary of the State is investigating her for potential code of conduct violations, which she denies.
The Secretary of the State says Sunita Buddhu could have her notary commission suspended or even revoked.