Defendant Pleads Guilty Following Jury Selection to Defrauding Investors of $17 Million in Offering Fraud, Stock Manipulation and Money Laundering Schemes
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Larby Amirouche was sentenced by United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to 20 months in prison for his role in fraudulent internet marketing schemes utilizing e-commerce websites that purported to sell various dietary supplements, hair care products, skin care products, testosterone, and web-based business tutorials. As part of the sentence, the Court also ordered the defendant to pay $1.8 million in forfeiture and over $110,000 in criminal restitution. Amirouche pleaded guilty in May 2022 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Thomas M. Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York Field Office (IRS-CI), announced the sentence.
“The prison term handed down today is appropriate and necessary for Amirouche who orchestrated internet marketing schemes that charged consumer credit cards for products that were ordered but never delivered or never ordered at all, and overbilled other consumers for products they had ordered from the defendant’s websites,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office will not hesitate to enforce the law to protect consumers and financial institutions from fraudsters, and ensure integrity in the e-commerce marketplace.”
“Amirouche victimized unsuspecting consumers by creating a literal world wide web of lies, building an online platform to defraud his victims for his own personal gain. With this sentencing, he now is facing the full consequences of his actions,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Fattorusso.
Amirouche was the managing member of Angry Elephant Marketing LLC and Purple Whale Management LLC. Between January 2012 and April 2016, Amirouche and his co-conspirators earned illegal profits by (1) charging consumer credit cards for products that were ordered but never delivered to the consumer; (2) charging consumer credit cards for products that were not purchased by the consumers and (3) repeatedly charging consumers for products that they had ordered from Amirouche’s websites.
Amirouche and his co-conspirators set up dozens of shell companies fronted by nominees they recruited to distance themselves from the fraudulent schemes and maximize the ill-gotten profits. Nominees were utilized in part because Amirouche and the corporate entities he controlled had been barred from opening new merchant accounts due to previous fraudulent activity. The profits were funneled to a bank account that was in the name of a nominee, but was actually controlled by Amirouche. From that account, Amirouche sent over $1.3 million to bank accounts in the names of other companies he controlled.
Amirouche and his co-conspirators also fraudulently established bank and merchant accounts for the shell companies so they could process credit card transactions and collect and transfer the proceeds of their crimes. The bank and merchant account applications the defendant submitted contained material falsehoods, including that the defendant was controlling the company, the nature of the business and forged signatures of the applicants.
In addition, Amirouche and his co-conspirators concealed material information from the financial institutions that supported the merchant card accounts. The misrepresentations were designed to prevent the financial institutions from discovering the frauds, which would have led to the financial institutions shutting off the accounts for the websites and stopping payment of funds to Amirouche.
In July 2022, Mr. Peace was selected as the Chairperson of the White Collar Fraud subcommittee for the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC). As the leader of the subcommittee, Mr. Peace will play a key role in making recommendations to the AGAC to facilitate the prevention, investigation and prosecution of various financially motivated, non-violent crimes including mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, health care fraud, tax fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and identity theft.
The government’s case is being handled by the Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney David C. Pitluck is in charge of the prosecution with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Jake Menz.
LARBY AMIROUCHE (also known as “Luke Williams”)
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-64 (KAM)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office