Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento businessman pleads not guilty to fraud charges

Deepal Wannakuwatte, Sacramento businessman and erstwhile owner of the Sacramento Capitals professional tennis team, has pleaded not guilty to federal fraud charges.

He was advised of his rights and the nature of the charges at an arraignment Thursday on a grand jury indictment accusing him of making false representations and using bogus documents to fleece San Jose-based Bridge Bank.

The bank took the tainted bait and authorized a $4.5 million line of credit for Wannakuwatte, the indictment says. It says he drew down on the line of credit and used the money in ways not covered by his pact with the bank.

Wannakuwatte, 63, who is in no-bail custody as a flight risk, is next scheduled to be in court April 3 for a status conference before U. S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley.