Owner of Business Consulting Firm Admits Orchestrating Multimillion-Dollar Bank Fraud and Securities Fraud Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – A Passaic County, New Jersey, man who founded and owned a business consulting firm admitted today to orchestrating a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and securities fraud scheme operated through that firm, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Edward Espinal, 44, of Wayne, New Jersey, the chief executive officer of Cash Flow Partners LLC (Cash Flow) pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of securities fraud.
“Edward Espinal coordinated a vast fraud scheme that lured people into taking out fraudulent loans that his company helped obtain and, in many cases, put that borrowed money into sham investments he also controlled,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “His complex scam tricked numerous investors out of a substantial amount of money, and now he will have to pay for his crimes.”
“This defendant is the quintessential con artist,” Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski said. “He played a shell game with other people’s hard-earned money, making promises he never intended to keep, and walking away with ill-gotten gains while leaving them high and dry. Fraudsters like Edward Espinal keep the FBI in business, and we work diligently to bring his type to justice.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The Bank Fraud Conspiracy
Espinal was the founder and chief executive officer of Cash Flow and controlled the company’s operations. From March 2016 through December 2019, Espinal led and directed a bank fraud conspiracy designed to obtain millions of dollars in loans from banks on the basis of false representations. To attract customers, Cash Flow released internet advertisements and held seminars offering to assist customers with low-paying salaries in obtaining loans. These advertisements included promotional videos featuring Espinal and a former telenovela actor. Customers contacted Cash Flow and were routed to the company’s sales department.
Employees in the sales department then encouraged customers to sign up for various loan programs that Cash Flow provided and to enter into contracts with Cash Flow. Under those contracts, employees would help customers obtain loans from banks. The Cash Flow contracts permitted customers to keep a portion of the loan proceeds and customers agreed to provide the remaining percentage of the proceeds to Cash Flow. Cash Flow agreed to pay off the loans on behalf of its customers.
Cash Flow then used false information and fraudulent documents to obtain loans for its customers for which they otherwise would not have qualified, and posed as the customers in communications with the banks.
The Securities Fraud
From July 2016 through September 2019, Espinal obtained more than $5 million in investments from victim investors on the basis of false and fraudulent pretenses and representations.
Espinal solicited investments from prospective customers using a marketing campaign on Spanish language television channels and the internet, the “Cash Flow TV” YouTube page, and live presentations in Cash Flow’s offices and elsewhere. Espinal also solicited investments from individuals who obtained loans through Cash Flow’s bank fraud conspiracy, encouraging loan customers to invest loan proceeds in Cash Flow’s investment program. Once investors agreed to invest in Cash Flow, Espinal issued “promissory notes” to investors that guaranteed monthly investment returns between 1.25 percent and 4 percent. The promissory notes stated that Cash Flow would return investors’ principal either one year from the date of the promissory note, or 60 days after investors demanded payment. Espinal and other Cash Flow employees signed the promissory notes on behalf of Cash Flow.
Espinal made a number of misrepresentations to investors. He told investors that he would pool their funds with the funds of other investors in investments related to real estate, real estate companies, a gold mine in Ecuador, and construction projects in countries outside of the United States. In reality, Espinal used investor funds to pay returns to earlier investors, to pay for personal expenses for himself, his family, and another Cash Flow employee, to perpetuate the bank fraud scheme, and to market the bank fraud and investment scheme to future victims. Espinal falsely claimed that Cash Flow’s purported real estate fund, Cash Flow Capital, was “licensed” by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He guaranteed monthly returns on investment based on the purported proceeds from the sale of properties in Cash Flow’s investment portfolio. In reality, Espinal did not sell Cash Flow properties, so no profits were derived from the sale of Cash Flow properties.
Two other individuals, Raymundo Torres and Jennie Frias, have previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the Cash Flow bank fraud conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The securities fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 13, 2020.
Individuals who believe they may have information about this case may contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a civil complaint against Espinal based on the allegations underlying the securities fraud charge.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FDIC-Office of the Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca in New York, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski in Newark, 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 Ari B. Fontecchio and J. Stephen Ferketic of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division in Newark.