Convicted Ponzi Schemer and Alleged Conspirator Indicted for Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme and Obstruction of Justice
NEWARK, N.J. – A former Hudson County, New Jersey, couple was sentenced today for operating a Ponzi scheme in which they defrauded approximately 30 investors by making extraordinary guarantees about investment returns and then used the money for extravagant purchases and to pay off other victims, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Jennifer Wee Cifuentes, 40, and her husband, Alcibiades Cifuentes, 39, were each sentenced to 71 months in prison.
Alcibiades Cifuentes pleaded guilty on Nov. 8, 2019, and Jennifer Wee Cifuentes pleaded guilty on Nov. 18, 2019, both before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court, to all six counts of an indictment charging each of them with four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud, and one count of stealing funds intended for investment in commodities. Judge Salas imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Jennifer Wee and Alicbiades Cifuentes engaged in an investment fraud scheme from 2012 through March 2015. They induced victims to invest in the foreign currency and commodity markets through Cifuentes Fund Management (CFM), their hedge fund that purportedly invested in foreign currencies, and then almost immediately spent those investment funds on personal items, such as an Audi R8 automobile and jewelry. The couple would then pay back a portion of the victims’ money with money received from newly duped victims. The couple defrauded approximately 30 victims of more than $400,000.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Salas sentenced the each of the defendants to three years of supervised released and ordered them to pay $434,914 in restitution and forfeiture of $218,957.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero, and investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Mahoney, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. She also thanked the N.J. Bureau of Securities in the State Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs, under the direction of Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck and Bureau Chief Christopher W. Gerold, as well as the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement, under the direction of Acting Director Vincent McGonagle, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Torntore of the Cybercrime Unit and Courtney A. Howard of the Department of Justice.