2 Individuals Indicted For Mail Fraud
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Yesterday, January 26, 2016, a Federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a twenty-three count indictment against Oscar Ferrer (“Ferrer”) and Jonathan A. Rivera-Padilla (“Rivera-Padilla”) charging them with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) are in charge of the investigation. The indictment was unsealed today following the arrest of Ferrer in Florida and Rivera-Padilla in Puerto Rico.
These charges resulted from a Ponzi scheme originating in the Cabo Rojo area of Puerto Rico and involving the payment of approximately $5.7 million to corporations operated by Ferrer in Puerto Rico and Florida. The corporations, including Reco Financial, Inc., National Western HIA, Inc., and CGB Financial, Inc., were utilized to receive victim’s purported investment deposits and to disburse the funds to Ferrer and Rivera-Padilla for their own personal use.
Ferrer and Padilla used their connections and referrals in the Cabo Rojo area to meet potential investors. In order to obtain purported investments, misrepresentations were made that the principal and interest on the investment would be guaranteed. Investors were then directed to make their payment to one of the corporations operated by Ferrer. Once deposited, the funds were not invested. Instead, they were withdrawn by Ferrer or transferred to personal bank accounts belonging to Ferrer, Rivera-Padilla, or others.
As a lulling tactic to avoid detection, some interest payments were made and false investment statements were created and mailed to the investors/victims. The investment statements misrepresented the state of their investment. Specifically, the investment statements misrepresented that the funds had been invested and/or that the principal and/or interest were guaranteed.
From 2011 to the present, approximately $5.7 million was invested in this scheme and approximately $1.6 million was paid to investors. The total amount netted in this scheme was approximately $4.1 million.
If found guilty, Ferrer and Rivera-Padilla face a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison for mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and ten years in prison for monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth A. Erbe is prosecuting the case. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. The investigation is ongoing.