Boiler Room Operator Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment for Multi-million Dollar Scheme
Long Island-Based Defendant Defrauded Elderly Victims in All Fifty States
Joseph Romano, the former owner and president of Last Quarter Coin, Inc., American Coin Company, Inc., and All American Coin Company Inc., was sentenced today to 15 years of imprisonment by United States District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco in federal court in Central Islip. On September 28, 2010, Romano pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with his operation of a coin boiler room involving the theft of more than $40 million of investor money. Romano was ordered to forfeit $7 million as part of his sentence.
The sentence was announced today by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Romano and his coconspirators defrauded elderly victims from all 50 states over an eight-year period. Romano’s scheme involved the sale of purportedly collectible coins and was carried out by falsely representing to his victims that: (1) the coins he was selling were of a higher quality grade than what was actually received by the victims, (2) the coins were more valuable when owned as a complete set, and (3) he had other purchasers anxious to purchase completed coin sets, when, in fact, no such investors existed. To avoid detection by law enforcement and evade his victims over this eight-year period, Romano repeatedly changed the name of the company, moved the location of the boiler room and changed the company phone number.
At the sentencing proceeding several victims, many of whom stated that they lost their family’s life savings, described the devastating effect of their losses as a result of Romano’s criminal actions.
“Romano took advantage of his victims’ age and naiveté to systematically fleece them of years of savings, leaving many of them destitute as they face what should have been their golden years. Those who prey on the elderly to enrich themselves through the use of fraudulent schemes are on notice that they face severe penalties,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This office is committed to protecting the investing public and will tirelessly investigate and prosecute those who, by deceit and false promises, would steal from those who believed they were investing in a legitimate enterprise.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the United States Postal Inspection Service, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lara Treinis Gatz and Thomas Sullivan.
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