Man Sentenced to 135 months for Operating a “Ponzi” Scheme and Committing Securities and Bank Fraud
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Carlos Maldonado, owner of Business Planning Resources International Corporation (BPRIC), Glorimar Fashions and Tailoring, LLC, Global Business Insurance Agency Inc., and associated under the incorporation documents with Pet Card Systems, Inc., and Datavos Corporation, was sentenced today to 11 years and three months (135 months) in prison for securities fraud and bank fraud, and ordered to serve five years of supervised release. Maldonado was also ordered to pay $1,986,734.26 in restitution to 46 of his victims.
Maldonado was charged with 16 counts of securities fraud and bank fraud on October 27, 2016. In December 2019, he was found guilty on all counts after a jury trial. The jury found that, from on or about the year 2007 through the year 2012, Carlos Maldonado along with several associates fraudulently solicited and procured over $5,000,000 on behalf of BPRIC from over 100 individuals and other businesses. As part of the fraudulent scheme, Maldonado and his associates provided phony Investment Contracts to victims in Puerto Rico and the Continental US in exchange for their monetary investment in his bogus business enterprises.
During trial, the government presented checks, bank records, emails, other documentary evidence, and witness and victim testimonies that proved that the defendant made or caused materially false and misleading representations to be made to investors, including: (i) that the various companies were involved in legitimate business functions―which he knew not to be true; (ii) failing to disclose to investors that their funds would be used to buy and trade stocks and commodities on a ScottTrade account, Foreex Capital markets, LLC, and other personal trading accounts, and for Maldonado’s family expenses instead of funding the bogus business ventures; and (iii) failing to disclose that the investment funds fraudulently obtained were to be used by Maldonado to purchase goods and services at retail stores, restaurants, and spend money for travel, rent, entertainment, and personal auto loan payments.
After the imposition of this substantive sentence by US District Judge John A. Woodcock, District Judge from the District of Maine, United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico emphasized that “investment fraud can come in many forms, but its main feature is the promise of a fast and high return. Fraudsters, posing as salespeople or entrepreneurs, contact unsuspecting individuals and offer them seemingly exciting investment opportunities. The victims are lured in by the promise of a deal that is “too good to be true” because it isn’t true. We want to remind the citizens of Puerto Rico that no investment is risk-free and that an offer of a high rate of return always means greater risk. Before investing, get written information, such as a prospectus or annual report, and be wary if a salesperson pressures you to invest immediately, promises you quick profits, encourages you to borrow money or cash-in retirement funds to invest, tells you to write false information on your account forms, or uses words like “guarantee,” “high return,” or “limited offer”. As soon as you suspect that you have been the target of fraudulent scheme, contact law enforcement so we can prosecute those responsible and attempt to recover the stolen funds.”
“The victims in this case, as with most cases, were promised an incredible return on the investment of their hard-earned money. Sadly, the promises were based on lies and they were preyed on by someone who used their desire for a better future to gain their trust and steal their dreams,” said FBI SAC Joseph González. “At the FBI we are committed to pursuing these cases to the end of the line, but we need victims to come forward. If you believe you or anyone you know has been a victim of one of these schemes, call 787-987-6500 or leave a tip online through tips.FBI.gov. Help us bring these criminals to justice.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Edward Veronda and Jeanette Collazo, and investigated by the FBI.