BOSTON – Two men were sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for a multi-year fraud scheme that caused more than $6 million in losses to investors.
Thomas D. Renison, 69, of South Glastonbury, Conn., was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr. to four years in prison and three years of supervised release. Renison was also ordered to pay forfeiture of $526,120 and restitution of $6,240,983. In October 2020, Renison pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of filing false tax returns.
Timothy J. Allcott, 65, of Peabody, Mass., was sentenced by Judge O’Toole to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Allcott was also ordered to pay forfeiture of $5,052,661 and restitution in the amount of $6,098,173. In July 2020, Allcott pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In January 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Allcott and Renison with fraudulently misleading investors in connection with the same conduct.
Renison was the former owner of ARO Equity LLC, a privately-held investment company that purportedly pooled money from investors and then invested it in various New England-based businesses. Between 2015 and 2018, Renison and Allcott fraudulently raised and solicited funds for ARO Equity LLC by misrepresenting to victims how their money would be invested, ARO’s investment track record and the safety of the investments. Allcott and Renison also concealed Renison’s ownership interest and affiliation with ARO because the SEC and regulators in Maine had previously barred Renison from working in the securities industry.
Over the course of the scheme, ARO took in over $6 million from investors but only invested half of that amount. Of the investments that ARO actually made, the substantial majority yielded significant losses. Despite these losses, Allcott and Renison failed to inform the victims of the poor performance of prior investments. Instead, they told the victims on many occasions that the investments were doing well and remained safe. ARO paid required monthly payments to earlier investors using funds raised from later investors.
The defendants generally told victims that ARO would use their investments to fund one of three different businesses. Instead, Renison and Allcott paid themselves exorbitant commission fees, satisfied monthly interest obligations to other investors and invested in different undisclosed businesses. As part of the scheme, Allcott and Renison disguised commissions paid to Renison as loans to Renison’s wife, which allowed them to continue to conceal Renison’s ownership stake in the company. In addition, Renison failed to declare more than half a million dollars of commission income and failed to pay over $150,000 in taxes.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Office; and Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin A. Saltzman of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.