Dearborn Resident Sentenced in Investment Fraud Scheme
DETROIT - Dearborn resident Ali Rameh Bazzi was sentenced to 33 months of imprisonment today on charges of wire fraud and money laundering arising out of an approximately $500,000 investment fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.
Joining in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Sarah Kull, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Office of the Internal Revenue Service Office of Criminal Investigation.
Bazzi, 27, pleaded guilty in August 2021 to one count of wire fraud arising from a scheme to defraud approximately 30 individuals by using their investments to fund his personal lifestyle and expenses. Bazzi also pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering, the result of financial transactions he engaged in with the fraudulently obtained funds.
United States Attorney Ison stated “This defendant lived lavishly on funds that he stole from those who entrusted him with their investments. His lies and deceit were costly to his victims and to the community as a whole. Today’s sentence was wholly warranted and I hope it will deter anyone seeking to enrich themselves by defrauding innocent investors.”
According to Court documents, Ali Rameh Bazzi held himself out to the public as an investment manager who used a unique trading model to generate high rates of return for investors. Between March of 2018 and March of 2020, Bazzi, operating through a supposed investment management company that he formed, obtained approximately $540,000 from nearly thirty investors. Bazzi told these investors that he would be investing their funds in commodities and foreign exchange markets and would generate substantial profits for his clients. To corroborate those claims, he provided his investors with individualized account statements at regular intervals, which purported to show trading activity and the growth in the value of their investments.
In fact, according to court documents, Bazzi diverted the great bulk of the money he obtained to his own personal uses and expenses. The account statements were fictitious, as were Bazzi’s many other representations to his investors about how and where their funds would be invested. Because of Bazzi’s misrepresentations, most of his victims were left with no return on their investments.
Bazzi spent investor funds leasing exotic sports cars, acquiring jewelry, and funding the day-to-day living expenses of a comfortable lifestyle. Of the approximately $540,000 that Bazzi obtained over the course of the scheme, Bazzi returned approximately $99,000 to investors. The reminder of the funds – some $441,231 – Bazzi illegally converted to his own use.
In addition to the 33 months of imprisonment, Bazzi was ordered to pay $441,231 in restitution to his victims.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John K. Neal. The investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigations Division. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission provided valuable assistance.