United States v. Anthony B. Brandel et al.
Court Docket Number: 2:13-cr-00439 (D. of Nevada)
Court Assigned: This case is assigned to United States District Judge Kent J. Dawson, United States District Court for the District of Nevada, LV Courtroom 4A, 333 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89101.
Criminal Charges: On December 11, 2013, the following defendants were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud (Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 371), wire fraud (Counts 2-13: 18 U.S.C. § 1343), and securities fraud (Counts 14-24: 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b); 78ff; 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5). The indicted defendants include:
1) Anthony B. Brandel
2) Joseph Micelli
3) James Warras
4) Sean Finn
5) Martin Schlaepfer
6) Hans-Jurg Lips
According to court documents, from October 2009 through October 2013, the defendants used a Swiss corporation known as Malom Group AG to promote investments in European equities and debt offerings, which they said would yield high rates of return. The indictment alleges that the defendants created and provided to investors fake bank statements representing that Malom Group AG had large deposit balances at prominent European banks. The defendants collected payments of between $200,000 and $1.2 million per investor but did not put the funds toward the advertised investments. Instead, the defendants used the money for their own purposes. Court documents allege that Brandel, Micelli, Finn and Warras attempted to conceal the proceeds of the conspiracy by not filing tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
According to allegations in the indictment, the investments that the defendants promoted did not yield any returns to their victims. When victims complained, the defendants told investors that the Malom Group AG would refund their money with the proceeds of pending transactions the defendants knew were fictitious and would not generate any proceeds. Despite the defendants’ promises of refunds, court documents allege that none of the investors identified in the indictment received a refund. The indictment alleges that Micelli, Warras and Lips went so far as to submit to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court declarations they knew contained false statements about a transaction that the Malom Group AG had promoted to an investor who had an interest in a company that had filed for bankruptcy protection.
According to the indictment, Anthony Brandel acted as the director of MY Consultants Inc., a Nevada corporation that purported to review potential investments for the Malom Group AG. Micelli, a disbarred former attorney, identified himself to victims as Malom Group AG’s “compliance officer.” Warras served as Malom Group AG’s Executive Vice President for U.S. Operations and Finn acted as a broker who recruited victims and referred them to Malom Group AG. Schlaepfer was Malom Group AG’s Chief Executive Officer and Lips identified himself as the head of Malom Group AG’s Structured Finance Group. Schlaepfer and Lips presently reside in Switzerland.
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Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served.
Crime Victims’ Rights Act and Right to Retain Counsel: The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged. Section 377I(c)(2) of this Act requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the statute specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the statute, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government may not recommend any specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you. Government attorneys represent the United States.
If you elect to obtain counsel to represent your interests, please have your attorney notify this office in writing at: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, Room 4416, Washington, DC 20530, Attention: Pamela Washington; (202) 514-3708 (fax). If you elect not to retain counsel to represent your interests, you do not need to do anything.
Plea Agreements: Please be aware that many criminal cases are resolved by plea agreement between the Department of Justice and the defendant. You should also know that it is not unusual for a defendant to seek to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide notice to you of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will put you in touch with the prosecutor.