Steven G. Barkus and Michael A. Lombardo Convicted on a Variety of Fraud charges
Mike Tobin, Public Affairs Specialist, (216) 622-3651
Two California men were convicted on a variety of fraud charges related to the sale of securities and fraudulent solicitation of start-up money related to various businesses, federal law enforcement officials announced today.
Steven G. Barkus was convicted on all counts of his indictment, including two counts of conspiracy, one count of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and one count of securities fraud following a trial before U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan.
Co-defendant Michael A. Lombardo was convicted on charges of conspiracy and securities fraud. Both were also convicted on tax violations, including conspiracy to impede and impair the ability of the IRS to assess their taxes and collect payment on their taxes, evasion of payment to the IRS and tax evasion.
Sentencing for Barkus and Lombardo is scheduled for May 29.
“In many instances, these defendants preyed on people who trusted them,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “We will continue to pursue those who break the law and engage in dishonest and unethical business practices.”
“Honest and law-abiding people are fed up with those who use deceit and fraud to line their pockets with other people’s money,” said Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, IRS – Criminal Investigation. “Those who engage in this type of financial fraud should know they will be held accountable. The extensive joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, IRS and U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the verdicts reached in this case should send a strong message to those who engage in this type of illegal activity.”
Barkus and Lombardo fraudulently sold securities and solicited investors’ funds by selling interests in various business ventures, including but not limited to Psorsoothe Industries, LLC, aka AuraSoothe Life Healing Sciences, LLC, which purported to sell a remedy for psoriasis, as well as Univesal Power and Timber Top, LLC, according to court documents and trial testimony.
Barkus and Lombardo solicited various investors to invest in and provide money for various investments, often seeking “start up” or “seed” money for companies that the defendants claimed has some humanitarian purpose as well, according to court documents and trial testimony.
In many instances, Barkus made the requests for money from people who he befriended, who were members of his church and/or who had trusted him, according to court documents and trial testimony.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert J. Patton and Christian H. Stickan following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Postal Inspection Service.