Former Hedge Fund Employee Sentenced for Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme
A New York resident was sentenced in federal court on March 10, 2018, for a three-year fraud scheme involving aggravated identity theft and money laundering.
Benjamin Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Antonio J. Gomez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division; Philip Bartlett, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, New York Division; Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and John Brooks, Chief, Sunrise Police Department, announce that Gerti Muho, 34, of Ridgewood, New York, was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment by U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom in connection with an extensive fraud scheme that targeted various banks, lenders, and companies, including his former New York-based hedge fund employer and numerous real person victims. He was also ordered to pay approximately $1.7 million in restitution.
Muho was previously convicted in July 2017 during a three-week jury trial of 40 counts of bank and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 1343, 1957, and 1028A.
At trial, the government presented evidence that Muho, 2012 University of California Berkeley, School of Law graduate, was fired from his job at an international hedge fund company in New York City in 2013. Thereafter, Muho stole the company’s data, created numerous shell companies and attempted to syphon millions of dollars from various hedge fund bank accounts, including wire transfer requests totaling approximately $5 million.
The trial evidence revealed that later in 2013, after submitting a series of fraudulent corporate documents, Muho induced a bank in Monaco to wire him over $2 million. Muho then fled to South Florida and used the funds for his own personal use, including gambling, shopping, and purchasing a new Maserati vehicle and an ocean-view downtown Miami condominium. Furthermore, Muho created various identities and obtained false identification cards in order to escape a pending federal civil court judgment. The trial evidence showed that Muho fraudulently obtained other loans as well, including a $500,000 business loan, which he used to gamble, shop and travel in as well as a $30,000 vehicle loan, which was used to obtain a new 2015 Jaguar vehicle.
The evidence presented at trial and sentencing illustrated that Muho additionally used the personal identifying and financial information of various employees, interns, and other individuals associated with his former employer, and created more fake identification cards and drivers licenses; Muho fraudulently opened various bank accounts in Miami-Dade and Broward counties; Muho created and cashed over $161,000 in fraudulent checks; Muho fraudulently attempted to obtain approximately $342,000 in federal tax refunds; and, finally, Muho fraudulently applied for approximately $580,000 in additional credit cards, vehicle, business, and student loans with numerous lenders. Muho was ultimately apprehended in Ridgewood, New York after fleeing South Florida.
“The sentence imposed is a success in our continuing efforts to combat fraud and identity theft in this community and across the country.” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg. “Muho was an intelligent, highly educated person who used his knowledge and skills to perpetrate his various fraud schemes, which thanks to the tireless and diligent efforts of law enforcement, was successfully unraveled. We will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who engage in deceptive and fraudulent behavior that is fueled by greed.”
“Muho’s criminal activity included stealing millions of dollars and people’s identities, which caused much financial harm to his victims. Today’s sentencing should send a clear message to those attempting to defraud others that it will not be tolerated,” said Antonio J. Gomez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division. “No matter how complex the scheme, the United States Postal Inspection Service will work diligently to protect our consumers and the mail from criminal exploitation.”
“Gerti Muho is a talented, industrious and motivated individual, unfortunately, he chose to use these skills to illegally satisfy his greed,” said Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “This type of fraud undermines the public’s confidence in our financial systems. The FBI and our partners take this seriously and are determined to bring wrongdoers like this to justice.”
Mr. Greenberg commends the investigative efforts of the USPIS, FBI, and Sunrise Police Department in this matter. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean T. McLaughlin and Matthew Langley.