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Press Release

Bergen County Man Charged with Defrauding Victim of $780,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man has been charged in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain $780,000 to purchase an apartment in Fort Lee, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Arthur Schwartz, 78, of Fort Lee, was indicted on four counts of wire fraud. He is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.    

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In February 2018, Schwartz obtained $780,000 from Victim-1 to purchase an apartment in Fort Lee by falsely stating that he possessed the funds to repay a short-term loan, but that his bank had temporarily blocked access to his account. Victim-1 agreed to extend the loan to Schwartz due and payable in 30 days. Schwartz used the money to purchase the apartment.  

From March 2018 to May 2018, Schwartz made numerous false statements intended to make Victim-1 believe that Schwartz would be sending him money to pay down the loan. On March 16, 2018, Schwartz sent a text message to Victim-1 falsely stating that he was liquidating investments in a trust account into cash for the benefit of Victim-1. Schwartz sent an email to Victim-1 on March 27, 2018, that was intended to deceive Victim-1 into believing that Schwartz had access to a Wells Fargo account with a balance of approximately $1.5 million, and that Schwartz could use that money to pay back Victim-1. Schwartz instead spent tens of thousands of dollars redecorating his Fort Lee apartment. 

The wire fraud counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. 

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge ­­­­­­Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Fayer and Catherine R. Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated December 18, 2019

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 19-412