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Michael Francis Egan III, who had previously accused X-Men director Bryan Singer of sexual abuse when he was a teenager, has been indicted on securities and wire fraud charges for operating a fraudulent investment scheme that lasted from 2007 to 2012. Egan was indicted by a grand jury in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Over the course of his scheme, Egan fraudulently persuaded investors that he was a close associate of the chief executive of a prominent bank and that he owned stakes in noteworthy Las Vegas hotels. He told investors that he would invest in projects including Halloween-themed attractions, land development, and television programs. Rather, he spent investors’ cash on his rent, car lease, pet care and living expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

Egan faces of maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment if convicted on securities fraud and a similar sentence on the wire fraud charge.

Earlier this year, Egan filed a high-profile civil suit alleging X-Men director Bryan Singer and three Hollywood executives of sexual abuse when he was a teenager. Singer filed a motion to dismiss the suit, stating that the claims were a “sick, twisted shakedown.” Subsequently, Egan filed a motion for voluntary dismissal of the case against the group.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

Joel Barry Gillis and Edward Wishner, two San Fernando Valley businessmen were charged this week with operating a Ponzi scheme that lasted fifteen years. Authorities believe the two received hundreds of millions of dollars from investors who believed their funds would be used to buy profitable automated teller machines.

Gillis and Wishner face federal conspiracy as well as mail and wire fraud charges relating to the loss of over $100 million by almost two thousand investors. The two operated Nationwide Automated Systems Inc. out of Calabasas, California. The company claimed to place, operate, and maintain ATMs in high-traffic locations, including hotels, casinos, and convenience stores. It also purported to operate more than 30,000 ATMs and was involved in over a billion dollars in ATM transactions each month.

Allegedly, Gillis and Wishner told their investors that the company would lease back the ATMs and pay the investors fifty cents for each transaction performed at their particular machine, guaranteeing annual returns of 20 percent for each ATM. The company solicited investors to use their retirement savings by asserting that the company’s sale/leaseback program would perform better than more customary retirement investment accounts.

NASI did, in fact, make monthly payments to investors, but prosecutors believe that money come from other investors. NASI also did operate a small number of ATMs. But there were no more than 250 of them, and they were owned by the company and not the investors. Prosecutors claim that the overall operation was nothing but a Ponzi scheme.

The scheme unraveled this past summer when NASI bounced about three million dollars in checks, and in response to hundreds of calls from investors, Gillis and Wishner “falsely sought to reassure the victim-investors that NASI was only suffering from accounting problems and technical delays relating to system upgrades, and that timely payment of investor returns would likely resume by the beginning of October 2014,” according to prosecutors.

Gillis and Wishner face up to twenty years in federal prison for each of their four charges if convicted.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

JoAnn Crupi, the ex-Bernard Madoff aide who maintained the bank account for Madoff’s investment business was sentenced to six years imprisonment this week for her participation in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme that bilked investors from across the globe out of approximately twenty billion dollars. Crupi is now the fifth and final former Madoff aide to receive a somewhat lenient penalty subsequent to her March conviction on conspiracy, securities fraud, as well as other charges.

Additionally, Crupi was found to be jointly liable for over $39.3 billion in forfeitures, corresponding to her portion of the responsibility for the customer funds, bank loans and other cash fraudulently acquired after January 2002. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled that Crupi knew or should have known about the scheme by that date.

Judge Swain denied bail for Crupi pending a possible appeal. Swain further ordered Crupi to surrender herself on February 26 and recommended that she serve her sentence at a minimum-security federal camp in Alderson, West Virginia. Prosecutors–who believe they adequately proved that Crupi knowingly and actively falsified records in order to trick auditors, regulators, and investors–requested a much harsher penalty than the fourteen year sentence recommended by federal probation officials.

Swain believes the sentence is fitting, telling Crupi, “Given the crimes with which you have been convicted, the sentence that has been imposed is a justly harsh result.” Swain did note that she considered the facts that Crupi was not the mastermind of the scheme and was often lied to by Madoff.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

On November 3, Charles Bennett of Manhattan, New York jumped into the Hudson River in an attempt to commit suicide but was ultimately rescued by a New York Police Department SCUBA diver and taken to a hospital. Before the suicide attempt, however, Bennett had written a sixteen page suicide note, which he left in a hotel on the West Side and was recovered by the police.

The note was entitled “A Sad Ending to My Life.” In the note, Bennett stated, “I have systematically over the course of five years or so perpetrated a huge Ponzi scheme envelloping [sic] my family and closest friends. I managed to completely squander the hard earned money that my family and dear friends managed to set aside over the course of their working lives. To be clear about this: the whole . . . investment scheme that so many thought was real was in fact a complete and [sic] fiction of my crazed imagination.”

Bennett had told investors that they were getting substantial returns and paid them some of their “dividends.” However, as Bennett admits in his note, not a single trade was ever made. In his own words, “It was a Ponzi scheme pure and simple.” All of the funds Bennett received were used “to pay off other supposed ‘investors’ and [Bennett’s] absurd lifestyle.”

An investigation into Bennett’s potential scheme led to authorities charging him with bilking $5 million from thirty clients since 2008. The SEC’s complaint accuses Bennett of using the investors’ funds for himself, making large cash withdrawals in order to pay for extravagant vacations and lavish hotel rooms.

Bennett, allegedly, enticed a number of his victims by stating that former governor Eliot Spitzer was among his investors.

Bennett was arraigned on wire and securities fraud charges over the telephone in his hospital room. If convicted, Bennett faces a maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

Paul Greenwood, an ex-money manager who used to co-own the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders was sentenced to ten years in prison in connection to his role in a scheme that fraudulently earned about $554 million over more than a decade. Noting his cooperation with authorities, Greenwood hoped to get a lesser sentence. U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, however, disagreed and gave Greenwood the lengthier sentence, pointing to “devastating” losses to investors. She also ordered Greenwood to forfeit $83.5 million. Greenwood’s attorney believes his client will appeal.

According to prosecutors, Greenwood as chief financial officer at WG Trading Co. in Greenwich, Connecticut swindled university foundations, charities, and other investors between 1996 and 2009. They believe that Greenwood misappropriated $131 million in investor funds. Greenwood and CEO Stephen Walsh allegedly issued $554 million in promissory notes to investors to conceal the misappropriation and WG’s lack of profitability.

Greenwood and Walsh used investor funds to help Walsh’s children run businesses, cover payments to Walsh’s ex-wife, and enable Greenwood to operate a horse farm and buy a stuffed teddy bear collection, according to prosecutors. The two also used $2.6 million to buy a stake in the New York Islanders in 1992 and sold it in 1996.

“I’ve lied, I’ve cheated and I’ve stolen,” Greenwood said in court. “Words can’t express my sorrow and remorse for what I have done.”

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

Chisan Chong and Steve Linnenkamp, executives at a Denver, Colorado Tech Center company called Direction Labs, were arrested after swindling an investor out of $848,000. According to court documents, Chong claimed to have software that would “take all the guesswork” out of making trades on domestic and foreign exchanges. He further asserted that the software was “bulletproof” and that investors would “never lose.”

Chong had hired Linnenkamp to help him market the software as well as find investors who would provide funding for trading on the FOREX. In 2011, Linnenkamp approached David McCarthy about an investment opportunity with the company. According to McCarthy, neither Chong nor Linnenkamp ever mentioned risk associated with the investment but claimed that it would be a “no lose” scenario. McCarthy was asked to invest a million dollars but instead invested $500,000.

Months later, Linnenkamp contacted McCarthy asking for an additional immediate $300,000 investment that would be traded on the FOREX market. McCarthy was told that Chong would personally take the funds with him to England where he would make the trades himself. McCarthy was also told that his investment would yield $1 million, which it did not.

Allegedly, Chong transferred most of the money into his own account and used it to purchase personal items, such as a car. According to investigators, no evidence was found that suggested that the software even worked. Authorities believe that Linnenkamp knowingly misled McCarthy by entering false trading information on the Direction Labs website.

Chong has been charged with theft and numerous counts of securities fraud. Linnenkamp has been charged with securities fraud, computer crime, accessory to securities fraud, and accessory to theft.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

Gilbert and Carl Fiorentino, two brothers from Coral Gables, Florida, were charged in federal court this week with operating a scheme to acquire $9 million in kickbacks and other benefits to conceal their illicit profits from the IRS during their tenure as senior executives at Systemax Inc. and its TigerDirect Inc. subsidiary. The brothers were charged with receiving millions of dollars of kickbacks from suppliers, which they used to buy luxury homes, furniture, and yacht equipment.

Allegedly, the brothers completed false conflict of interest questionnaires for the two companies. The charges also state that Carl Fiorentino completed a fraudulent tax return, underreporting his taxable income by $4 million. Specifically, Carl was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment. Gilbert was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and to impede the lawful functions of the IRS. He has a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

“Gilbert and Carl Fiorentino put their financial gain and lavish lifestyle ahead of their responsibilities as corporate officers and directors,” Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said in a news release. “They accepted kickbacks, driving up the price of the consumer electronics and passing the price increase to customers.”

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

Six banks–Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, RBS, Bank of America, and UBS–will pay, as a group, $1.4 billion to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and roughly $1.75 billion (£1.1 billion) to the U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority. UBS will additionally make a payment to Switzerland. The British regulator has never before levied such large fines and says that the investigation into possible wrongdoing at Barclays is ongoing. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency stated that Citbank, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase will pay a total of $950 million in fines.

From 2008 and 2013, relaxed controls at the banks made it possible for traders to share confidential information and collude with those at other institutions in order to fix rates and increase profits. According to the regulators, traders utilized private chatrooms online to arrange their buying and selling to shift currency prices in their favor with the goal of turning a profit for their employer banks at the expense of their clients.

The traders went by the monikers of “the players,” “the 3 musketeers,” and “the A-team.” The group made agreements to take certain positions in order the manipulate what is known as the 4 p.m. fix, which is a one-minute snapshot of afternoon trading in London that is used as the basis of a vastly used benchmark.

The Financial Conduct Authority stated that the banks did not manage blatant risks and that traders were allowed to continue their misconduct. The banks and the employees who engaged in this scheme will possibly face criminal charges in both the United Kingdom and the United States for attempting to manipulate rates.

Reportedly, all of the banks have cooperated in the investigations and a few have even taken preventive measures to ensure this does not happen again.

The banks’ fines will be distributed as such: JPMorgan Chase and Citibank will each pay $1 billion, UBS will pay $800 million, RBS will pay $634 million, HSBC will pay $618 million, and Bank of America will pay $250 million.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Sacramento, California sentenced James Berghuis for operating a Ponzi scheme that bilked friends, family, and others out of over $2.7 million. Berghuis was found guilty of four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering in connection with the operation.

According to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, Berghuis persuaded investors to take out home-equity loans to make investments from 2005 to 2008, claiming that he would use the funds to invest in real estate. He also offered several victims a deed of trust on his commercial property, promising each that they would be in second position on the title. However, Berghuis never used the money for his stated purposes and instead used funds from new investors to pay back earlier investors, the classic element of a Ponzi scheme, as well as to purchase luxury items for himself.

Berghuis would make a series of excuses to investors as to why he could not pay them back on the promised dates. Some victims lost their homes or continue to pay on mortgages they took out to make their investments with Berghuis.

On one occasion, Berghuis used a check acquired from an investor to purchase a $200,000 Mercedes Benz later on that same day.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.

Last week, an Alabama judge dismissed securities fraud charges against Gregory Aziz, the CEO of a Canadian company, after Aziz agreed to pay $21 million in damages to the Retirement Systems of Alabama, which had invested in the company’s plans to build a railcar plant in Colbert County. The RSA, which now owns the plant, invested half a billion dollars to build it.

District Attorney Bryce Graham and Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg requested the dismissal after they had reached a settlement with Aziz, and Colbert County Circuit Judge Jacqueline M. Hatcher granted the dismissal.

In addition to paying $21 million to the RSA, Aziz will also pay back the securities commission and the Colbert County District Attorney’s Office for costs associated with investigating the case.

Aziz, who remains listed as Chairman and CEO of National Steel Car, was charged in November of last year with securities fraud for making misrepresentations in order to make the RSA invest in the construction of a plant to build railcars in Colbert County, which would have provided 2,200 jobs to the area. The RSA subsequently gave Aziz a three year loan of $350 million to build the plant, and Aziz was supposed to have paid interest on the loan at nine percent.

Aziz, however, failed to reveal to the RSA that before he spent any of the original loan proceeds he knew that the plant would cost well over $350 million, that his company had incurred over $100 million in long-term debt, that he no longer had the $100 million line of credit he told the RSA he had, and that his company had granted liens on the railcar patent rights which would have required him to get permission from a third party to build the railcars in Alabama.

The RSA was forced to spend an extra $215 million to complete construction of the plant. The $21 million paid to the RSA in damages includes reimbursement of the $11.4 million Aziz and others were paid to oversee construction and the remainder is damages. The $21 million will be transferred back to the retirement funds managed by RSA on behalf of teachers and state employees.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-390-0036 to discuss your potential legal remedies or visit frankowskifirm.com.