New Jersey Man Convicted of Tax Evasion in Securities Fraud Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Joseph Cammarata, 49, of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey was found guilty on November 15, 2023, on five counts of tax evasion following a two-week trial in the District of New Jersey before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
Cammarata and two conspirators, David Punturieri and Erik Cohen, were the principals of Alpha Plus Recovery, a claims aggregator firm based in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Punturieri and Cohen previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering charges.
Cammarata, Punturieri, and Cohen used Alpha Plus Recovery to make false and fraudulent claims on the proceeds of securities fraud class action settlements and SEC enforcement actions. They falsely claimed that corporate clients of Alpha Plus Recovery had purchased shares of securities that were the subject of the lawsuits and enforcement actions. In reality, the supposed clients, which were entities actually controlled by the defendants, had not purchased the subject securities and were not entitled to any recovery from the settlements or enforcement actions. To substantiate their false claims, the defendants created fraudulent brokerage and other financial documents to provide to claims administrators. Cammarata and his partners then transferred the fraudulently obtained funds into accounts that they controlled, stealing more than $39 million from 2015 to 2019.
Cammarata’s share of the illegally obtained fraud proceeds amounted to more than $18 million. Cammarata failed to declare or pay taxes on income of $1.72 million in 2015; $2.56 million in 2016; $4.82 million in 2017; $3.56 million in 2018; and $3.35 million in 2019. Cammarata hid this income, which he received through corporate entities, from his accountant in order to conceal these sums from the IRS.
“Last year, a jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that Cammarata and his partners engaged in a multi-year fraud in order to steal over $40 million,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Cammarata then concealed more than $16 million of his proceeds of that fraud from the IRS. The verdict in the New Jersey case makes clear that those who hide income gained by fraud will face the same consequences as those who try to evade their tax obligations from legal sources of income. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the investigators and prosecutors on this case, this defendant has been brought to justice for the full scale of his criminal conduct.”
“This defendant has now been convicted by two separate juries of serious crimes,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. “First, he was convicted by a jury in Philadelphia federal court for his role in a scheme to defraud investors out of millions of dollars. Now, a Trenton jury has convicted him of hiding from the IRS the more than $16 million he pocketed as he tried to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. Cammarata will now be held to account for his crimes at sentencing.”
“Year after year, Joseph Cammarata and his partners stole millions from legitimate victim investors entitled to class action settlement funds and hid the illegal proceeds from the IRS,” said Richard Langham, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Cammarata used the funds to support his lavish lifestyle, including the use of private jets, the purchase of expensive homes, luxury cars, and yachts, and even the maintenance of a private island in The Bahamas. As investigators closed in, Cammarata doubled down on his lies in order to perpetuate the fraud and evade taxes. What Cammarata didn’t know was that Special Agents from the FBI and Postal Inspectors were methodically building a case based on his emails and on phone calls where he and his business partners conspired to lie to claims administrators and the IRS. The FBI is proud to have assisted the IRS in bringing Cammarata to justice.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation special agents are specially equipped to follow the complex financial trail left by criminals, and we are dedicated to holding those accountable for crimes committed,” said Tammy Tomlins, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Newark Field Office. “Mr. Cammarata and his partners stole millions from his victims. IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to hold account fraudsters like the defendant.”
“A jury in New Jersey found Joseph Cammarata guilty of defrauding thousands of investors of settlement proceeds and hiding his illegal income from the IRS,” said Christopher Nielsen, the Inspector in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the Postal Inspection Service. “Since 2014, Mr. Cammarata and his co-conspirators used the United States Mail to submit thousands of fraudulent claims to civil security fraud settlement funds, depriving actual harmed investors of money that they should have received. They collected over $43 million in fraudulent payments and failed to report their newfound income to the IRS. From 2015 to 2019, Mr. Cammarata collected over $18 million in the scheme and falsified his tax returns each year to hide his illegal income and his involvement in the scheme. I want to thank the agents from the FBI and the IRS who worked alongside Inspectors from my office in Philadelphia to uncover this scheme. I would also like to thank the Assistant United States Attorneys who supported the investigation and saw the prosecution through.”
Each count of tax evasion is punishable by up to five years in prison. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
Cammarata was previously convicted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (EDPA) of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering in connection with this scheme. On June 6, 2023, the Honorable Chad F. Kenney sentenced Cammarata to 10 years in prison on those charges. Because Cammarata filed his taxes from New Jersey, the tax evasion case was brought in the District of New Jersey and prosecuted by EDPA Assistant United States Attorneys David J. Ignall and Paul G. Shapiro, who also tried the earlier case.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, with trial support from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
Updated November 17, 2023