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Press Release

Monmouth County Man Convicted of Tax Evasion in Securities Fraud Scheme

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man was convicted on five counts of tax evasion for his role in a $39 million investment fraud, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey announced today.

Joseph Cammarata, 49, of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, was found guilty on Nov. 15, 2023, on five counts of tax evasion following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court. Cammarata was previously convicted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering in connection with this scheme. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on those charges.

“This defendant has now been convicted by two separate juries of serious crimes. First, he was convicted by a jury in Philadelphia federal court for his role in a scheme to defraud investors out of millions of dollars. Now, a Trenton jury has convicted him of hiding from the IRS the more than $16 million he pocketed as he tried to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. Cammarata will now be held to account for his crimes at sentencing.”

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger

“Last year, a jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that Cammarata and his partners engaged in a multi-year fraud in order to steal over $40 million,” U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said. “Cammarata then concealed more than $16 million of his proceeds of that fraud from the IRS. The verdict in the New Jersey case makes clear that those who hide income gained by fraud will face the same consequences as those who try to evade their tax obligations from legal sources of income. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the investigators and prosecutors on this case, this defendant has been brought to justice for the full scale of his criminal conduct.”

“IRS Criminal Investigation special agents are specially equipped to follow the complex financial trail left by criminals, and we are dedicated to holding those accountable for crimes committed,” Tammy Tomlins, IRS – Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Field Office, said. “Mr. Cammarata and his partners stole millions from his victims. IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to hold account fraudsters like the defendant.” 

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

Cammarata and two conspirators, David Punturieri and Erik Cohen, were the principals of Alpha Plus Recovery, a claims aggregator firm based in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Punturieri and Cohen previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering charges.

Cammarata, Punturieri, and Cohen used Alpha Plus Recovery to make false and fraudulent claims on the proceeds of securities fraud class action settlements and SEC enforcement actions. They falsely claimed that corporate clients of Alpha Plus Recovery had purchased shares of securities that were the subject of the lawsuits and enforcement actions. In reality, the supposed clients, which were entities actually controlled by the defendants, had not purchased the subject securities and were not entitled to any recovery from the settlements or enforcement actions. To substantiate their false claims, the defendants created fraudulent brokerage and other financial documents to provide to claims administrators. Cammarata and his partners then transferred the fraudulently obtained funds into accounts that they controlled, stealing more than $39 million from 2015 to 2019.

Cammarata’s share of the illegally obtained fraud proceeds amounted to more than $18 million. Cammarata failed to declare or pay taxes on income of $1.72 million in 2015; $2.56 million in 2016; $4.82 million in 2017; $3.56 million in 2018; and $3.35 million in 2019. Cammarata hid this income, which he received through corporate entities, from his accountant in order to conceal these sums from the IRS.

Each count of tax evasion is punishable by up to five years in prison. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tomlins, Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard Langham, and U.S. Postal Inspectors, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Christopher A. Nielsen, Philadelphia Division, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the SEC, for the assistance provided by its Enforcement Division.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Ignall and Paul Shapiro of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Updated November 17, 2023

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-342