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Press Release

Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice And Money Laundering Charges In Connection With Scheme To Hide Assets From Two Federal Courts And The SEC

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROBERT A. OLINS pled guilty in Manhattan federal court today to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and money laundering.  The charges relate to OLINS’s scheme to hide his assets – including his multimillion-dollar art and antiques collection (the “Art and Antiques Collection”), which was subject to liquidation to satisfy a $3.3 million disgorgement judgment entered by a federal court in California – from federal courts in New York and California, in connection with an enforcement proceeding brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and to launder the money derived from the scheme. 

OLINS was arrested on August 26, 2015, and pled guilty today before United States District Judge Jesse M. Furman.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “As he admitted today, Robert Olins carried out a scheme to deceive and hide assets from two federal courts, a court-appointed receiver, and the SEC.  Olins repeatedly lied to get approval for transactions, and used the proceeds to pay for personal luxuries, rather than to satisfy court judgments, as he was required to do.”

According to the Indictment and statements made at today’s plea hearing:

On February 25, 2011, a federal district court in California (the “California Court”) entered a judgment against OLINS, ordering him to pay disgorgement to the SEC in the amount of $3.3 million (the “Disgorgement Order”).  On July 27, 2011, the SEC filed an action in federal court in the Southern District of New York (the “New York Court”) registering the Disgorgement Order and requesting the appointment of a receiver to liquidate the Art and Antiques Collection and to apply the proceeds of such liquidation toward the Disgorgement Order.  On May 29, 2012, the New York Court issued an order (the “Receiver Order”) appointing American Bank and Trust Company (“AB&T”) as Receiver, as AB&T had a first and prior security interest in the Art and Antiques Collection.  The Receiver Order prohibited OLINS, as well as any other person or entity with “possession, custody or control” of any item from the Art and Antiques Collection, from engaging in any form of side deal, self-help, set-off or transaction not approved by the New York Court. 

From August 2011 through August 2015, OLINS engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct the administration of justice in the New York Court and the California Court, by among other misrepresentations, making false statements in order to mislead those courts concerning OLINS’s financial condition, and to obtain court approval for certain transactions concerning the Art and Antiques Collection.  OLINS then received money from the sale of items in the Art & Antiques Collection that should have gone to the SEC and AB&T, and instead used the proceeds for his own purposes, including to make payments toward the purchase of additional antiques, specifically, a $695,000 set of antique wall brackets.  In June 2012, OLINS directed that certain monies he derived from the scheme be wired to a bank account in the Isle of Man, for the purpose of promoting his unlawful conduct of hiding his assets from the Courts, the SEC, and AB&T.  Once the money was received in the Isle of Man, OLINS then directed that the money be transferred back into the United States and used it to pay personal expenses.

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OLINS, 59, of West Hartford, Connecticut, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, the greatest of $250,000, twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense, or twice the gross pecuniary loss to persons other than the defendant resulting from the offense, and a $100 mandatory special assessment on Count One; and a maximum term of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the transfer, and a mandatory $100 special assessment on Count Five.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by Judge Furman.  OLINS is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Furman on September 29, 2016, at 3:30 p.m.

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service, and thanked the SEC for its assistance. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine I. Magdo and Andrea M. Griswold are in charge of the prosecution.   

Updated June 10, 2016

Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 16-162