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Press Release

Monroe County Man’s 12 Year Sentence For Investment Fraud Affirmed By Appellate Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the conviction and sentence of Richard J. Harley, age 73, of Shawnee on the Delaware, who was previously sentenced to serve 12 years in prison by United States District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo in November 2015. Harley was convicted after a two-week jury trial in December 2014, on multiple counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and making false statements on bankruptcy schedules relating to an elaborate investment fraud scheme.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Harley defrauded investors and attempted to defraud the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and several financial institutions by soliciting money based on false claims that his company, RJH and Co. Inc., owned 10 million barrels of oil in Texas worth over $1 billion and had “unrestricted bond power” over billions of dollars of federal reserve bank instruments supposedly held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As a result of the fraud, investors lost approximately $323,800.


The bank fraud charge relate to Harley’s attempt to deposit two phony $500 million checks purportedly issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York into several financial institutions. Harley also filed three fraudulent bankruptcy petitions in 2010, 2011 and 2012 where he attempted to discharge the debt he owed to one of the primary victims of the oil scheme.


Harley was previously convicted of mail and wire fraud and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in 2001 for a scheme that defrauded AIDS patients and investors relating to a fraudulent ozone-enema treatment he claimed cured AIDS.


The prosecution was handled by United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler and the appeal was handled by Stephen A. Cerutti, II, Chief of Criminal Appeals.


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Updated April 17, 2017

Financial Fraud