You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Connecticut Man Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice And Money Laundering In Connection With Scheme To Hide Assets From Two Federal Courts And The SEC

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROBERT A. OLINS was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for 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 pled guilty on June 10, 2016, and was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Jesse M. Furman.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Robert Olins deceived and hid assets from two federal courts, a court-appointed receiver, and the SEC.  He repeatedly lied to the court, and, rather than satisfy court judgments as required, he used the proceeds to pay for personal luxuries.”

According to the Indictment and statements made during yesterday’s court proceedings:

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 fraudulently obtain court approval for certain transactions concerning the Art and Antiques Collection.  OLINS then received approximately $657,000 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, including 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.  OLINS then purposely concealed his receipt of the $657,000 from the California Court, by not including it on a financial affidavit he was required to file with that court.

*                      *                      *

In addition to the prison sentence, OLINS, 60, was sentenced to two years of supervised release.  The Court further ordered that OLINS forfeit $160,000 and his interest in the antique wall brackets, and pay $657,000 in restitution to the Receiver.

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. 

The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.  For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.

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.   

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
16-350
Updated December 22, 2016