Onondaga County Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud and Money Laundering Charges
Charles H. Riel Engaged In a Four-Year Scheme To Defraud Investors
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Charles H. Riel, age 60, of Clay, New York, pled guilty today to mail fraud and money laundering charges for his role in a fraudulent investment scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, James Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York Field Division.
In his plea agreement, Riel admitted that he was the founder, principal member, and officer of REinvest, LLC, a New York limited liability company based in Clay. From June 2010, through May 2014, Riel provided false, fraudulent, and misleading information about REinvest, LLC, including historical rates of return on supposed REinvest LLC investments and fictitious testimonials touting the financial successes of non-existent REinvest, LLC investors. As part of his guilty plea, Riel further admitted that he collected approximately $285,000 from a total of five investors, all of whom had received false and fraudulent information regarding the nature of Riel’s business and how their funds would be utilized. Riel used a substantial portion of the funds received from investors to pay for his own personal living expenses rather than investing the funds in ways that could result in a legitimate return on the investments. He also used money from subsequent investors to pay back a portion of the investment of an earlier investor.
As part of his plea agreement, the defendant agreed to pay restitution to his victims, and to forfeit $197,500.00 to the United States.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 5, 2019, before the Senior District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. in Syracuse. For his conviction for mail fraud, Riel faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release. For his conviction for money laundering, he faces up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
This case was investigated by IRS-CI and the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicolas Commandeur and Michael D. Gadarian.