Kaushal Niroula, a 27-year-old Nepali man, has been charged with the murder of 74-year-old retired art dealer Cliff Lambert in Palm Springs, California.
According to a report on CBS5 (KPIX), "Niroula along with co-conspirators David Replogle, 60, a San Francisco lawyer, Russell Manning, 67, a San Francisco art broker, and Daniel Carlos Garcia and Miguel Adolfo DeLeon Bustamante, both 26, are alleged to have emptied Lambert's bank accounts, stolen his Mercedes sports car, looted his paintings and other property, and finally attempted to fraudulently sell his home."
More from KPIX:
District attorney's office spokesman Michael Jeandron said he could not release information about whether Lambert's body had been found, or how Lambert's alleged murder is believed to have been committed, citing an ongoing investigation.
Often described as a charismatic and dashing young man, Niroula has had a recent history of forgery and impersonation charges in Las Vegas, Marin County, and San Francisco. Niroula was involved in an academic controversy that brought down a college president. He has several lawsuits alleging him of fraud, embezzlement and theft. Niroula was also detained in an immigration hold; he said he was seeking political asylum on basis of his close ties with the ousted Nepali royal family.
Here’s a timeline of Niroula’s reported complaints with excerpts from several Bay Area newspapers.
2006 - Academic Controversy - New College of California, San Francisco
As a student at the New College of California in San Francisco, Niroula befriended college president Martin Hamilton. In 2006, their relationship came under fire after numerous staff complaints accused Hamilton of fixing Niroula’s grades and waiving his tuition in exchange for a $1 million donation to the college. Niroula reportedly told Hamilton that he had $3.5 million which he was unable to access because of the then-ongoing political instability in Nepal. The donation was never made.
Hamilton resigned in August 2007 ‘acknowledging irregularities but denying any grade-fixing’. Niroula claimed he was "used as a tool to bring Martin Hamilton down." In 2008, the college lost its accreditation after the college's accreditor launched an investigation. The college was later forced to close.
2006 – Financial Scam - Hawaii
A federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco claimed that Niroula scammed a Japanese woman out of $508,000. The woman, Megumi Hisamatsu met Niroula on her trip to Hawaii. She reported Niroula claimed to be an international business consultant and conned her into investing in his real estate proposals. Hisamatshu was to receive a commerce visa in return.
Hisamatsu’s lawsuit claimed Niroula convinced Hisamatsu to open an account at the Bank of Hawaii and wire funds into it. Niroula then forged checks and stole her money. Niroula said he borrowed the money to save his family members who were kidnapped in Nepal.
2008 – Gambling Spree - Las Vegas
Niroula was accused of stealing $485,000 from an associate to buy a painting, and then spending the money on a gambling spree in Las Vegas instead. San Francisco authorities obtained a $250,000 warrant for Niroula's arrest.
2008 – Jewelry Theft - Marin County, California
In August 2008, Niroula was charged with stealing $300,000 in jewelry from InaMae Valentino, a 78-year-old woman– an incident believed to have been provoked by Niroula’s need to put together the bail out money for his Las Vegas gambling case. Niroula was a friend of Valentino's 54-year-old son, and occasionally stayed in the Valentino home. Niroula pleaded not guilty. The jewelry was later recovered by Marin sheriff's investigators.
More from the Marin Independent Journal
2008/2009 – Burglary & Murder Charges - Palm Springs, California
Niroula along with his five alleged cohorts (mentioned earlier) has pleaded innocent to the Palm Springs murder charges.
Watch KABC TV report (This news report was produced before the recent developments of murder charges)
I also came across this blog serving gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals. In a recent post ("Gay Nepalese Student Charged with Murder") it mentioned Niroula having been in relationships with his alleged accomplices, Daniel Garcia and David Replogle. The blog post also said Niroula was often seen dressed up as his female persona, Kylie Monali. On a follow up post, the blog mentioned that some Nepalese in the community believe Niroula to be a victim himself and ask people to avoid drawing any conclusions before he is proven guilty.
Niroula was a student of St. Xaviers School in Kathmandu, Nepal. He came to the United States on a student visa on 2002.