United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Announces Participation in National Money Mule Initiative; Obtains Three Civil Injunctions Against Alleged Money Mules Involved in Lottery Scams
PHILADELPHIA –William Bucci, 60, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced yesterday to 78 months in prison for running an investment fraud scheme that duped victims into turning over more than $3.2 million, announced Acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen. United States District Judge Joel H. Slomsky also ordered that Bucci serve five years of supervised release after his prison term. In addition, Bucci must pay more than $3 million in restitution to the victims and the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the indictment, Bucci told his victims he was starting a wine and high-end olive oil import business. Among his one dozen victims was a Catholic Priest and a retired Philadelphia firefighter. The indictment charges securities fraud, four counts of mail fraud, one count of mortgage fraud, and five counts of making and subscribing false federal income tax returns for underreporting his income for the tax years 2007 through 2011. On June 8, 2016, Bucci entered a plea of guilty to the securities fraud, mail fraud, and mortgage fraud counts. He entered a plea of nolo contendre to the tax counts. After the government presented its evidence, the Court found the defendant guilty of all charges.
According to the indictment, beginning as early as 2004, Bucci represented to his brokerage clients-victims that he was starting a business to import high end olive oil and wine from Italy. But Bucci, who was a licensed stockbroker and a non-lawyer elector on the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline, never had an olive oil and wine business. He allegedly promised the clients a rate of return of at least 10% on their investment. He also falsely guaranteed to the investors that he would repay principal and interest. Bucci also allegedly solicited other individuals to loan him money for the purchase of real estate. According to the indictment, Bucci used funds from these individuals to support his lifestyle and to make payments to earlier victims. In total, the indictment alleges that victims entrusted in excess of $3.2 million to Bucci between November 2003 and December 2011.
The indictment further alleges that Bucci filed false federal income tax returns, underreporting his income, for the tax years 2007 through 2011. It is further alleged that, in 2012, Bucci provided false documents to Beneficial Mutual Savings Bank in connection with a mortgage that Beneficial held on a property that Bucci owned in Brigantine, New Jersey.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Ignall and Trial Attorney Derek J. Ettinger of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.