Nevada Man Pleads Guilty To $5 Million Investment Fraud Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. - A Nevada man today admitted defrauding investors out of more than $5 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Lee Vaccaro, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to a two-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Vaccaro was the chief marketing officer and vice president of investor relations for eAgency, a California-based company developing mobile security products. Vaccaro admitted that he and an individual identified as “Conspirator #1” sold investors interests in companies they controlled, and falsely represented to investors that the companies held warrants in eAgency. Warrants are derivative securities that give the holder the right to purchase common stock at a specific price within a certain time frame.
Vaccaro also admitted that he and Conspirator #1 made oral and written misrepresentations concerning the existence, number, validity, and term of eAgency warrants purportedly owned by the investment companies, as well as about the amount of money Conspirator #1 had personally invested in and raised for eAgency, and Conspirator #1’s current position at eAgency.
In addition, Vaccaro admitted that he and Conspirator #1 created and showed to investors numerous forged documents purporting to reflect the issuance of warrants to entities controlled by Vaccaro, and the transfer of those warrants to a company controlled by Conspirator #1. He admitted that most of the eAgency warrants purportedly transferred by Vaccaro to Conspirator #1’s company had, in fact, never been issued.
Beginning in January 2011, the dollar amount of interests Vaccaro and Conspirator #1 sold in the investment companies began to surpass the dollar amount of valid warrants held by the investment companies. Neither Vaccaro nor Conspirator #1 disclosed to investors the risk that their investments would be diluted by the sale of additional interests in the companies.
Vaccaro and Conspirator #1’s actions defrauded investors of more than $5 million.
The conspiracy to commit securities fraud count to which Vaccaro pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The securities fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 13, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas. He also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office, under the direction of Sanjay Wadhwa and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, under the direction of Laura Posner.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Shapiro and Deputy Chief Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
If you believe you are a victim of or otherwise have information concerning this alleged scheme, you are encouraged to contact the FBI at 973-792-3000.
Today’s plea is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
Defense counsel: Robert C. Scrivo, Esq., Newark