Florida Man Charged For Operating Fraudulent Investment Schemes
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), today announced securities and wire fraud charges against STEVEN STALTARE for his alleged involvement in two separate fraudulent investment schemes. As alleged, in both schemes, STALTARE misled victim investors through numerous misrepresentations about how their money would be invested, and also failed to disclose that he previously had been convicted of securities fraud. In the course of operating both schemes, STALTARE allegedly misappropriated for his personal benefit more than $600,000 of investor funds. STALTARE was arrested this morning in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, and was presented today in federal district court in the Middle District of Florida.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, Steven Staltare veered from one fraudulent scheme to another, leaving a trail of investors as the victims of his false promises and outright lies. Today, the series of self-serving frauds he allegedly perpetrated ends with his arrest.”
New York USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “Mr. Staltare's alleged offense is a classic example of greed overcoming honest business practices. He preyed upon the trust of his investors, only to use their funds for his own personal benefit. His undoing came, however, when he underestimated the resolve and tenacity of Postal Inspectors along with their law enforcement counterparts to bring to justice anyone who commits a crime.”
According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:
From at least 2011 through 2012, STALTARE defrauded two investors (“Victim-1” and “Victim-2”) in connection with the transfer of shares of stock in Dematco, Inc. (“Dematco”). In late 2011, STALTARE facilitated Victim-1’s sale of hundreds of thousands of shares of Dematco stock for $70,000. Around the same time, STALTARE asked Victim-2 to lend him approximately $150,000 so that STALTARE could purchase shares of Dematco stock. In consideration of this loan, STALTARE promised Victim-2 repayment of the loan within three weeks; a third of the profits from the eventual sale of the Dematco shares; and Dematco stock certificates (obtained from Victim-1) as collateral for the loan. Ultimately, STALTARE did not pay Victim-1 the $70,000, and he did not repay Victim-2 for the $150,000 loan, or provide any profits from the sale of Dematco stock. Instead, STALTARE transferred Victim-1’s shares in Dematco to Victim-2 (as collateral for the loan), and misappropriated the funds provided by Victim-2 for his own personal benefit.
From at least 2012 through 2013, STALTARE defrauded two other investors (“Victim-3” and “Victim-4”) by misappropriating funds intended for investment in the stock of various companies, including Dematco, Preventia, Inc. (“Preventia”), First Choice Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (“First Choice”), and Savtira Corporation (“Savtira”). STALTARE agreed to invest approximately $25,000 for Victim-3 in Preventia stock, promising significant investment returns. STALTARE also agreed to invest approximately $357,000 for Victim-4 in various securities, including stock in Dematco, Preventia, First Choice, and Savtira, again promising significant investment returns. But contrary to his representations to Victim-3 and Victim-4, STALTARE misappropriated their investments for his own personal benefit.
In the course of effectuating these fraudulent schemes, STALTARE defrauded victims in excess of $600,000 from 2011 through 2013.
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STALTARE, 48, of Land O’ Lakes, Florida, has been charged with two counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud. The securities fraud and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the USPIS. Mr. Bharara also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which U.S. Attorney Bharara serves as a Co-Chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Lee is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.