Florida Attorney Sentenced To Six Months In Prison For Laundering Purported Stock Fraud Proceeds
Michael J. Scaglione, Esq., an attorney in Coral Gables, Florida, was sentenced today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, to six months in prison to be followed by four months of home detention with electric monitoring to be served during a two-year term of supervised release. As part of the sentence, Scaglione was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and to forfeit approximately $31,950 to the government. In October 2013, Scaglione pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge for laundering over $750,000, which he believed were the proceeds of a penny stock fraud scheme. In July 2013, Scaglione was arrested after taking possession of $500,000 in cash from an undercover federal agent posing as a criminal stock promoter in connection with a government sting operation.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Toni Weirauch, Special Agent in Charge, United States Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS).
“Abusing his position as an attorney by laundering money, Scaglione not only violated the code of ethics by which he was bound – he also broke the law. Those attorneys who seek to misuse the trust that is instilled in them by the public to perpetrate crime are on notice that they will be held accountable for their crimes,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch thanked the FBI and the IRS for their work on this investigation.
From approximately February to July 2013, Scaglione exploited his position as an attorney to launder money through an escrow account for an undercover law enforcement agent who posed as a corrupt stock promoter. Scaglione believed that the undercover agent was a middleman for a network of corrupt stock brokers who fraudulently inflated prices of worthless stock in exchange for high commissions. Scaglione agreed to launder what he believed were proceeds of this stock fraud through his attorney escrow account to hide that money from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the IRS. In total, Scaglione funneled over $750,000, including $88,000 in cash given to him in a Federal Express box in the lobby of a Miami Beach hotel, through the escrow account into the undercover agent=s bank account in Long Island, New York. Scaglione carefully structured the movement of these funds to avoid triggering financial reporting requirements. In exchange, Scaglione collected over $25,000 in fees. In recorded conversations, Scaglione assured the undercover agent that their conversations were “completely privileged” and that his money was “safe” with Scaglione. When the undercover agent explained to Scaglione that he did not “want to go to jail,” Scaglione stated to the undercover agent that the escrow account was “tight as can be.” On the day of his arrest, Scaglione accepted an additional $500,000 in cash from the undercover agent, which Scaglione believed to be proceeds from the stock fraud, at a hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
MICHAEL J. SCAGLIONE
Residence: Miami Springs, Florida
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 13-CR-553