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July 16, 2010

HOUSTON MAN FOUND GUILTY OF BANKRUPTCY FRAUD AND MAIL FRAUD BY RUNNING INTERNET GOLD SCAM

(HOUSTON) –  A federal jury has convicted a Houston man of 25 counts of bankruptcy fraud and mail fraud arising from a an Internet scam to sell gold, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The jury returned its verdicts this afternoon finding James Maceo Ramey, 63, of Houston, guilty on all 25 counts alleged in an indictment relating to bankruptcy fraud and for operating a fraudulent Internet gold sales company in which victims lost in excess of $300,000. Seventeen counts of conviction were for conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, false oaths and false declarations relating to the filings of 15 bankruptcies in various jurisdictions. The remaining eight counts of conviction arose from a mail fraud scheme arising from the operation by Ramey of Internet gold sales through auctions and The Manhattan Gold Inc. website between August 2003 and May 2004.

Ramey’s convictions came after a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison during which testimony and evidence proved Ramey, who had filed 15 bankruptcy cases between August 2001 and December 2005, made false statements regarding his address and residence and failed to state he had repeatedly filed for bankruptcy in various jurisdictions. Witness testimony also established Ramey intentionally ignored and refused to comply with orders issued by the bankruptcy court prohibiting him from filing additional bankruptcy cases. 

During the period of the bankruptcy scheme, Ramey set up and operated a fraudulent Internet gold website using the U.S. Mail. Ramey set up a business in the name of Manhattan Gold Inc. and solicited purchases of gold coins, including American Gold Eagles, Australian Kangaroos, South African Kruegerands, Canadian Maple Leafs and Credit Suisse gold bars. Ramey concealed in his numerous bankruptcy petitions the more than $300,000 in income he received from the sale of gold, not to mention the fact that he never had gold to sell and did not provide gold nor a refund to any of the victims whom he had defrauded.

After five hours of deliberations, the jury returned its verdicts of guilty this afternoon. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 12, 2010. Ramey faces up to five years imprisonment for of the 17 bankruptcy fraud convictions and up to 20 years for the eight mail fraud convictions. 

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the Houston offices of the FBI, the U.S. Trustee’s Office and the United  States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Quincy L. Ollison  and Cedric L. Joubert prosecuted the case.

 

 

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