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LEADER OF MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PONZI SCHEME TARGETING HAITIAN-AMERICANS SENTENCED TO SEVENTEEN YEARS IN PRISON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Ronnie Bass, Jr., 37, of Miramar, FL, was sentenced on Friday, February 11, 2011, to seventeen years’ imprisonment for his role in a scheme to defraud more than 600 investors throughout the Southern District of Florida. Abner Albre, 33, of Miramar, FL, and Brian Taglieri, 40, of Jupiter, FL, were previously sentenced to terms of imprisonment for their respective roles in the same investment scheme.

The defendants raised more than $12 million from investors by selling unsecured notes issued by Homepals Investment Club LLC and Homepals, LLC. Investors were induced to invest in the scheme by materially false and misleading representations and omissions of material facts. As a result of this fraudulent scheme, hundreds of investors have lost approximately $3.9 million.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Everyone has a responsibility to protect the investing public. In this case, Brian Taglieri chose to self-report his criminal conduct and cooperated; accordingly, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Ronnie Bass, Jr., however, falsely denied his involvement until the day he was sentenced in court. The lengthy term of imprisonment for Mr. Bass reflects his conduct during and after the fraud.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies stated, “Ronnie Bass preyed on his connections within the Haitian community with offers too good to be true. It is not uncommon for perpetrators to victimize people they know because they have already gained their trust. Bass now has 17 years in prison to think about how he betrayed others.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the cooperative efforts of the Miami Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Ryan Dwight O’Quinn and Ryan K. Stumphauzer.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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