Dallas and Carrolton Men Plead Guilty For Role in a $2 Million Mail Fraud Scheme
DALLAS — Robert Joseph Marano, 53, of Dallas, Texas, appeared in federal court this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rebecca Rutherford and pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.
In March 2018, both Marano and Paul Anthony Dominguez, 32, of Carrollton, Texas, were charged in a felony information with a one count of mail fraud scheme. Dominguez pleaded guilty earlier this month to the same mail fraud scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced July 25, 2018. Marano is scheduled to be sentenced on August 1, 2018.
Both Dominguez and Marano face a maximum statutory penalty of twenty years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could also be ordered. Dominguez and Marano will remain on bond while awaiting their sentencing hearings.
According to filed plea documents, Dominguez and Marano contacted client contractors with a proposal to collect outstanding unpaid debts of former customers of the contractor client. During the period from about March 2015 through December 2016, Dominguez and Marano caused at least 200 client contractors to sign an agreement in which the client contractors authorized the defendants to release liens filed by the client contractor in exchange for the payment of unpaid debts by former customers. Dominguez and Marano also falsely represented to client contractors that defendants would collect funds from delinquent clients, retain a commission fee, and then send the balance of the collected funds to the contractor client.
Dominguez and Marano later contacted many former customers of the contractor client. These former customers were delinquent in payment of debts to the contractor clients. Dominguez and Marano fraudulently caused these former customers to send settlement checks to a business controlled by Dominguez and Marano. Dominguez and Marano also stole funds from their client contractors when they unlawfully cashed these former customer checks, but failed to pay their contractor clients the total settlement amount owed.
The defendants preyed on the financial desperation of these client contractors who were owed large sums of money from former customers. The defendants deceived these client contractors by falsely representing to the client contractors that the defendants would honestly collect and pass on funds collected from former customers.
Dominguez and Marano defrauded at least 200 client contractors across the United States and received over $2 million dollars in settlement funds from former customers of the client contractors. The felony information alleged that Dominguez and Marano spent these stolen funds to support their lavish lifestyle, including trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii and Miami, as well as the purchase of two 2016 Harley Davidson motorcycles, a 2016 Kawasaki motorcycle, a 2015 Toyota Tundra, and a 2015 Corvette Stingray.
This case is one of many felony indictments of bankruptcy-related crimes prosecuted as part of the Bankruptcy Fraud Initiative, United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas. These bankruptcy prosecutions were identified and investigated from a larger number of criminal referrals regularly made to this office by the United States Trustee’s Office, Dallas, Texas. Since 2013, these focused bankruptcy prosecutions have resulted in 27 convictions of individuals engaged in various types of fraudulent conduct within the United States Bankruptcy Courts.
The United States Postal Inspection Service, Fort Worth, Texas investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis is in charge of the prosecution.
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