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Business owner pleads guilty to wire fraud


A man from Mountain Lakes has pleaded guilty to white collar crimes after admitting that he obtained a half-million dollars by defrauding investors in a television programming initiative. The man, 77, was accused of deceiving the investors by telling them that the money would be used to pay for educational programming designed to reach teen audiences. In reality, it appears that the man kept the money for himself. He pleaded guilty to a single charge of wire fraud, according to official reports.

The defendant apparently created several business entities from 2008 to 2010, which he used to solicit investments. He promised investors that they would receive returns that were better than that on the general market. Further, the man told investors that their money would be used to produce the television programming; instead, the man apparently used the money to pay for groceries, school tuition, rent and even some club memberships.

The man reportedly solicited the investments through religious institutions, charitable groups, civic clubs and alumni events, according to news reports. Those investors received investment information, including prospectuses and other professional-looking documents to convince them to wire funds to brokerage accounts in both New Jersey and New York.

In this case, the defendant pleaded guilty to federal crimes in a district court. That means that he will be required to serve the vast majority of his sentence; in the federal system, there is no parole. Defendants who are facing such serious white collar crimes violations should carefully consider whether to enter a guilty plea; in many cases, that choice can be beneficial, but every criminal defense case is different. This man, for example, is facing a potential two-decade stint in jail and a quarter-million dollar fine in connection with the allegations.

Source: Source: Daily Record, "Mountain Lakes man admits $500,000 scheme," No author given, July 9, 2014

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