Cheshire Woman Sentenced to Prison for Fraud and Tax Offenses Stemming from Nearly $1 Million Embezzlement Scheme
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LEON C. VACCARELLI, 43, of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 90 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for operating an investment scheme that defrauded individuals of approximately $1.5 million.
According to court documents and the evidence presented during his trial last year, Vaccarelli was a registered representative of The Investment Center (“TIC”), a brokerage company, and was an investment adviser associated with IC Advisory Services, Inc. (“IC Advisory”). He also was the owner and only member of LWLVACC, LLC, and conducted business through an entity named Lux Financial Services (“Lux Financial”). Using these various entities, Vaccarelli operated a financial advisory and brokerage service through which he offered investment advice and sold investments and securities to individuals and families in the Waterbury area.
Between approximately 2011 and 2017, Vaccarelli defrauded approximately 15 victim investors of approximately $1.5 million by falsely representing that he would invest his clients’ money in IRA rollover accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit (“CDs”), or other types of interest-earning investments. However, instead of investing customers’ funds as he had represented, Vaccarelli deposited customer funds into his own personal account and business bank accounts, commingled those funds with his own money, and used the funds to pay both business and personal expenses, including tuition and mortgage payments. In some instances, he also used customer funds to make bogus “interest payments” to other victim-investors.
Vaccarelli’s victims include an elderly woman who Vaccarelli coerced into transferring approximately $300,000 in funds from a safe investment portfolio into a bank account that Vaccarelli controlled. Vaccarelli subsequently spent the money on personal expenses and to pay off another investor who threatened to sue him. Vaccarelli also stole nearly $500,000 from a trust, which was established in 1991 to care for a woman with diminished capacity. Other victims include a retired schoolteacher, a retired construction worker, and medical professionals.
Vaccarelli is required to pay full restitution, and Judge Arterton will issue a restitution order after additional court proceedings.
On May 2, 2018, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Vaccarelli with three counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. On March 5, 2019, a superseding indictment against Vaccarelli added three counts of wire fraud and six counts of securities fraud.
On May 29, 2019, a jury found Vaccarelli guilty of all counts of the superseding indictment.
Vaccarelli, who is released on a $100,000 bond, is required to report to prison on January 5, 2021.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael S. McGarry and Jennifer R. Laraia.