Five Defendants Charged In $8.4 Million “Boiler Room” Fraud And Money Laundering Scheme
The Defendants Operated Boiler Rooms Overseas and Shell Companies in the United States to Defraud Victims Around the World of Millions of Dollars
Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), and John Condon, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging ROBERT LENARD BOOTH, a/k/a “Trevor Nicholas,” MICHAEL D’URSO, ALYSSA D’URSO, JAY GARNOCK, and ANTONELLA CHIARAMONTE with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and operate unlicensed money transmitting businesses, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and operation of unlicensed money transmitting businesses, in connection with a scheme to defraud victim investors in countries around the world and launder the proceeds of the fraud. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.
BOOTH was arrested in August 2021 at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was previously indicted for his role in the scheme. MICHAEL D’URSO, ALYSSA D’URSO, and CHIARAMONTE were arrested in Glen Cove, New York this morning and will be presented before the Honorable Debra Freeman, United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York, later today. GARNOCK was arrested in West Palm Beach, Florida this morning and will be presented before the Honorable Bruce E. Reinhart, United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Florida later today.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Hiding behind fake investment firms and a network of shell companies, these defendants preyed on victims around the world and cheated them of their hard-earned savings. In selling their victims fake investments in American companies, the defendants abused the confidence and trust that investors worldwide have in American securities and American banks. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our law enforcement partners, these defendants now find themselves in hot water, being held accountable for their crimes.”
HSI Tampa SAC John Condon said: “This case is an example of how HSI is uniquely positioned to disrupt transnational criminal organizations allegedly profiting from cross-border crime. Thanks to the partnership with HSI and IRS-CI, an international criminal conspiracy has been stopped.”
IRS-CI SAC Thomas Fattorusso said: “Criminals have become extremely sophisticated in preying on unsuspecting victims, and this alleged boiler room scheme is no exception. This team of fraudsters allegedly went to great lengths to create fake marketing materials, fake contact information, and fake companies to dupe victim-investors and then laundered the funds for personal gain. This case demonstrates that IRS-CI, and its law enforcement partners like Homeland Security Investigations, will work across the globe to track down perpetrators of financial crimes.”
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today:
Beginning in at least June 2019 and lasting through August 2021, ROBERT LENARD BOOTH, a/k/a “Trevor Nicholas,” MICHAEL D’URSO, ALYSSA D’URSO, JAY GARNOCK, and ANTONELLA CHIARAMONTE participated in a sophisticated international mass-marketing investment fraud scheme to defraud investors from around the world of millions of dollars, and to launder the fraud proceeds and distribute those proceeds among the conspirators.
BOOTH ran a boiler room operation in Thailand that lied to investors and told them the boiler room was in fact a Manhattan-based investment firm. BOOTH and his co-conspirators propped up their lies with fake identities and false and misleading webpages, email addresses, and phone numbers. While purporting to sell investors from around the world securities in privately held and publicly traded American companies, BOOTH stole more than $1 million from victim-investors, depriving them of their savings.
MICHAEL D’URSO, ALYSSA D’URSO, GARNOCK, and CHIARAMONTE (the “D’URSO Crew”) ran a network of shell companies and associated bank accounts in New York. Using these shell companies, the D’URSO Crew partnered with multiple boiler rooms, including BOOTH’s, to receive the stolen “investment” funds from victims and then launder the money and distribute it to the various conspirators. All told, the D’URSO Crew used its shell companies to receive more than $8.4 million that was stolen from victims of the scheme. They then used their shell companies to launder more than $4.6 million of the stolen money and send it back overseas.
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BOOTH, 68, of Brooklyn, New York, MICHAEL D’URSO, 54, of Glen Cove, New York, ALYSSA D’URSO, 28, of Glen Cove, New York, GARNOCK, 75, of Glen Cove, New York, and CHIARAMONTE, 36, of Glen Cove, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and operate unlicensed money transmitting businesses, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. MICHAEL D’URSO is further charged with three counts, and ALYSSA D’URSO, GARNOCK, and CHIARAMONTE are further charged with one count each, of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of these defendants would be determined by a judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI and IRS-CI. Mr. Williams further thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which today filed a parallel civil action, for its assistance and cooperation in this investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Jones and Jane Y. Chong are in charge of the prosecution.