BOSTON – A Florida man was sentenced today in connection with a scheme to defraud over 200 victims out of more than $950,000 in a business opportunity advance fee scheme.
Lawrence Amirto, 60, of Boca Raton, Fla., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William G. Young to 78 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Amirto was also ordered to pay $968,307 in restitution and to forfeit $462,750. In January 2013, Amirto pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud.
Between June 2010 and December 2010, Amirto conspired with co-defendants Jamon Caswell and William Totaro to defraud victims in a business opportunity advance fee scheme involving an entity called Premier Service Group, Inc. (PSG). Amirto, Caswell and Totaro falsely claimed that PSG provided credit repair services to consumers. They also advertised in publications throughout the United States the sale of independent businesses whereby affiliates would purchase geographic territories and would receive leads from PSG for potential credit repair clients within those territories. The affiliates were to contact these leads, describe the services that PSG would provide, sign them up as clients of PSG, and earn commissions. PSG never provided any credit repair service. Instead, many of the newly recruited affiliates were immediately given the opportunity to recruit additional affiliates. The new affiliates were thereby diverted from learning that there was no actual credit repair business, while soliciting still more affiliates. The funds collected from new affiliates were used for making payments to other affiliates, for expenses associated with the scheme, or for the personal expenses of Amirto, Caswell and Totaro. Amirto also admitted to operating similar advanced fee schemes between 2009 and 2011 using the names Snack America, Coffee Tree and Assisto Coffee.
In October 2012, Caswell pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced June 13, 2013. In January 2013, Totaro pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced June 5, 2013.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Kevin Niland, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina E. Barclay of Ortiz’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.