Stamford Man Charged with Federal Offenses in Connection with Securities Fraud Scheme
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England, today announced that on November 20, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a 39-count superseding indictment charging THOMAS J. CONNERTON, 65, of Stamford, with various offenses stemming from an investment scheme that defrauded individuals of more than $2 million.
On March 7, 2017, the grand jury returned an indictment charging CONNERTON with fraud and money laundering offenses stemming from the scheme. The superseding indictment charges CONNERTON with an additional count of tax evasion.
As alleged in the superseding indictment, CONNERTON was the founder, president, and CEO of Safety Technologies, LLC (“Safety Tech”), a Connecticut company that had its principal place of business at various times in Simsbury, Madison, Westport and Stamford. Safety Tech was founded in 2006, purportedly for the purpose of developing and commercializing what was represented to be a highly durable puncture and cut resistant material that was to be used in the surgical glove market and other related markets. Safety Tech has not yet obtained any patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and CONNERTON did not register Safety Tech’s securities with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
The indictment alleges that, beginning in approximately June 2009, CONNERTON induced victim-investors to provide him funds and to purchase Safety Tech securities by falsely representing that the valuation of Safety Tech was realistically in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, that a lucrative deal to sell or license his glove technology was imminent, and that he would use their funds for research and development, product testing, and to bring the product to market. CONNERTON offered his investors small amounts of equity in Safety Tech through “Subscription Agreements” or investments contracts through which he sold what he described as “Units.”
It is alleged that CONNERTON made numerous other false representations to victim-investors, including stating in September 2015, “I will go on the record to state that there is not a single investor that will lose one dollar invested in Safety Technologies.”
The indictment alleges that even though CONNERTON represented to victim-investors and potential victim-investors that the funds they invested would be used to fund research and development, for product testing, for business expenses and for legal fees, he used invested funds to pay personal expenses including, on two separate occasions, to purchase diamond engagement rings from Tiffany & Co. CONNERTON also used funds to repay loans to an earlier investor.
Through this scheme, it is alleged that CONNERTON defrauded more than 50 victim-investors of more than $2 million.
The indictment further alleges that CONNERTON engaged in monetary transactions in an attempt to conceal from the FBI and the SEC the nature and source of funds received by Safety Tech from the sale of Safety Tech securities. CONNERTON negotiated checks and purchased bank checks in order to move the fraudulent proceeds from one account to another.
Finally, the indictment alleges that CONNERTON willfully failed to pay $271,375 in federal income taxes between 2004 and 2015.
The indictment charges CONNERTON with 12 counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and 18 counts of securities fraud, offenses that carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count. The indictment also charges CONNERTON with six counts of money laundering, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count, one count of money laundering conspiracy, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of tax evasion, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
CONNERTON has been detained since his arrest on March 9, 2017. A trial in this matter is scheduled for May 9, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. McGarry.
Citizens with information that may be helpful to this ongoing investigation, or who believe they have been victimized by this scheme, are encouraged to contact the FBI at (203) 777-6311.