Leader of Real Estate Investment Firm Admits Role in $658 Million Ponzi Scheme and Multimillion-Dollar Tax Evasion Conspiracy
TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 102 months in prison for perpetrating a long-running scheme to defraud investment clients out of millions of dollars, forging an attorney’s signature without authorization in connection with that scheme, and preparing false tax returns for his clients, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Scott Newsholme, 43, Farmingdale, New Jersey previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to a three-count information charging him with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and preparing fraudulent tax returns. Judge Thompson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
In September 2017, Newsholme was charged by criminal complaint with mail fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud, and was released on bail. In October 2017, after law enforcement discovered that Newsholme continued his fraudulent scheme while out on bail, he was charged in an amended criminal complaint with mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Newsholme’s bail was revoked and he was detained pending trial.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Since 2002, Newsholme owned and operated at least three different financial advisory and tax return preparation businesses. Between 2007 and 2017, Newsholme recommended to multiple clients that they invest their money with him, which he would use on their behalf to invest in various securities and other investments, including bond instruments issued by a private New Jersey country club, a bond investment in a video-game production company, and investments in the production of a movie.
Newsholme also represented to clients for whom he would invest their money in more traditional securities, including mutual funds, annuities, life insurance policies, college education accounts, money market funds, and an escrow account for the purchase of a house. Newsholme directed his investment clients to write checks to him or one of his companies so that he could execute the investments on their behalf.
Rather than invest the money as he represented, Newsome cashed or deposited the checks and used the funds for personal expenses, including multiple vehicles, bedroom furniture, debits at casinos, bank transfers to Newsholme’s personal bank accounts, and ATM withdrawals.
Newsholme concealed his scheme by diverting incoming investment funds to pay other clients who had requested to withdraw funds from their investment portfolios. Newsholme also provided his clients phony account statements, security instruments, and other documentation that falsely represented to the clients the status of their investments.
In October 2017, Newsholme provided a letter to one of his investment clients from whom he had misappropriated approximately $62,000. The letter, which Newsholme represented had been prepared by an attorney, stated that the client’s funds were held safely in an escrow account established by the attorney. However, Newsholme fabricated the letter and forged the attorney’s signature without the attorney’s authorization in order to conceal his misappropriation of the funds.
Newsholme misappropriated more than $3.1 million from his investment clients, resulting in net investment losses of more than $1.8 million.
In addition to the wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, Newsholme also admitted preparing fraudulent tax returns on behalf of his clients. The fraudulent returns that Newsholme prepared claimed inflated deductions for unreimbursed employee business expenses, charitable donations, and medical expenses to which his clients were not entitled.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Thompson sentenced Newsholme to three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie, and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur, with the investigation. He also thanked the SEC’s New York Regional Office, under the direction of Director Mark P. Berger, and the N.J. Bureau of Securities, under the direction of Bureau Chief Christopher Gerold, and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, for their assistance with the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brendan Day of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Lisa Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton