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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 28, 2022

Former New Jersey Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role in Scheme to Defraud Elderly Oregonian

EUGENE, Ore.—A man formerly residing in Newark, New Jersey was sentenced to federal prison today for his role in a scheme to deceive and cheat $1 million from an elderly man residing in Roseburg, Oregon.

Thomas Gerard Mautone, 43, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Mautone was also ordered to pay $1 million in restitution to his victim.

According to court documents and trial testimony, Mautone was one of five individuals who together perpetrated a scheme to convince an elderly man to invest $1 million in a fraudulent high-yield international investment scam. In July 2015, one of Mautone’s co-defendants, Jared Mack, 46, of Utah, made initial contact with the victim to pitch an investment opportunity claiming to produce weekly returns of 20%. Once the victim expressed interest in the purported investment opportunity – and produced evidence he had $1 million to invest – Mack introduced him to Mautone, the supposed connection to investment “platform partner,” and codefendant Olabode Olukanni, 39, of New York.

For several months, Mautone and his co-defendants maintained frequent contact with the victim and repeatedly attempted to assure him, via a series of increasingly intimidating and pressure-laden communications, of the investment opportunity’s legitimacy, low risk, and promised returns. Mautone made these false representations despite knowing that others had their money stolen by his supposed Hong Kong investment partner, and despite being convicted only two years earlier of wire fraud for pitching a similar high-yield investment scam in South Carolina. 

In December 2015, following this monthslong pressure campaign, the victim wired $1 million to a bank account in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which was controlled by codefendant Rovshan Bahader Oglu Qasimov, 38, of Azerbaijan. Qasimov immediately withdrew the money and used it to purchase gold from a jewelry store in Dubai. The victim never saw his money again, nor did he receive the promised investment returns.

On June 21, 2017, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a six-count indictment charging Mautone, Mack, Olukanni, and Qasimov with wire fraud.

On May 13, 2022, Mautone was convicted at trial by a jury in Eugene.

Mack, Olukanni, and Qasimov all pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their roles in the scheme.

This case was investigated by the FBI. It was prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce and William M. McLaren, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated October 28, 2022