Disbarred Somerset Attorney Convicted of Fraud
BOSTON – A disbarred Somerset attorney was convicted by a federal jury yesterday on fraud charges arising out of his promotion of investments in a Fall River-based company.
John Silvia, 66, purportedly the “Managing Member” of Richardson Consulting, LLC, was convicted following an eight-day trial of eight counts of securities fraud.
Silvia purported to sell ownership interests in Advanced Space Monitor (ASM) that he was not entitled to sell. In furtherance of his fraud, Silvia created and used a fake “Subscription Agreement” that purportedly gave him the right to receive and sell shares in ASM when, in reality, he did not have the right to do so. The government presented evidence that Silvia cut and pasted the signature of ASM’s founder on the document purporting to give Silvia ownership interest in the company. Silvia defrauded multiple investors out of more than $300,000 based on false representations about his ability to sell the shares. Many of his victims were his friends and family members. Silvia, who was licensed to practice law in Massachusetts in 1975, has been disbarred since 2003.
The charge of securities fraud provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $5 million, or twice the gross loss to the victims, and restitution. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Seven additional counts of mail and wire fraud are still pending against Silvia based on fraud he is alleged to have perpetrated against additional victims. U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr., who had severed the counts for a separate trial, scheduled a status conference for March 14, 2016. Silvia was acquitted at trial this week on two counts of wire fraud.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The Massachusetts Securities Division, which filed an administrative action charging Silvia with violation of Massachusetts securities laws, referred this case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and cooperated with the criminal investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Gallagher of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit and Eric Forni of the Securities and Exchange Commission who was appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.