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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 15, 2020

California Business Man Sentenced to Prison for $25 Million Fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A California man was sentenced today to over 12 years in prison for orchestrating an investment fraud and money laundering conspiracy that caused losses of $25 million.

“Andrew B. Powers stole $25 million from nearly 60 people,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Powers is a con man of the worst sort. His fraud was long-running, well-organized, and relentless. He was motivated by greed and the desire to appear successful, when in fact, he intentionally stole from and deceived his victims for his own self benefit.”

According to court documents, Andrew B. Powers, 45, of Oak Park, and formerly a resident of Virginia, started CommuniClique, a company that he soon claimed had developed an application that allowed businesses to communicate electronically and seamlessly within their businesses, between businesses, and with clients. Powers falsely claimed yearly revenues of $2 million by 2009 and $180 million by 2019. He also falsely claimed to have a number of large corporate clients. In fact, CommuniClique had no revenues and no large corporate clients. In August 2018, after the Virginia State Corporation Commission had prohibited him from soliciting more investments in Virginia, Powers moved his fraud scheme to California. By 2019 he had defrauded investors of approximately $25 million. When he was indicted in July 2019, Powers was using investors’ money to rent a mansion in Palisades, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean for approximately $35,000 per month.

“Powers created a fake company, cheated investors of tens of millions of dollars, and used it to fund a lavish lifestyle for himself,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division. “The FBI is committed to rooting out fraud in all its forms, including investment fraud and money laundering schemes like the one Powers perpetrated, which can destroy companies, wipe out the life savings of families, and cost investors millions of dollars.”

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jack Hanly and Kimberly Shartar prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-213.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated July 15, 2020