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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 17, 2022

Former Founder And Ceo Of Nanotechnology Company Convicted Of Multimillion-Dollar Securities Fraud Scheme

James Jeremy Barbera Defrauded Investors Out of $8.6 Million by Falsely Claiming His Company Developed a Breathalyzer Device to Detect Cancer

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JAMES JEREMY BARBERA was convicted today following a one-week jury trial before the Honorable John G. Koeltl.  As the jury found, between 2013 and 2020, BARBERA, the founder and former chief executive officer of a New York-based nanotechnology company, Nanobeak Biotech, Inc. (“Nanobeak”), lied to investors and misappropriated investors’ funds.  The jury convicted BARBERA of three counts:  securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “As the jury unanimously determined, James Jeremy Barbera lied to investors about his company’s technology and stole millions of dollars of investor funds intended for research and development.  Barbera then tried to cover up his misconduct by providing false financial information to investors and the company’s board of directors.  Now he awaits sentencing for his crimes.”

According to the Indictment, evidence presented during trial, court documents, and statements in open court:

From in or about 2013 and in or about 2019, BARBERA was the founder and CEO of Nanobeak, a privately held nanotechnology company that represented to investors that the company had developed a breathalyzer sensor technology that could detect cancer and narcotics in human breath.

From at least in or about 2013 through in or about 2020, BARBERA and others perpetrated a scheme to defraud dozens of investors out of at least approximately $8.4 million (i) by soliciting investments through false and misleading statements, (ii) by failing to use investors’ funds as promised, and (iii) by converting investors’ money to his own use.  BARBERA and others made false and misleading representations to actual and potential investors, including as set forth below:

BARBERA falsely represented that Nanobeak had developed a breathalyzer sensor that could detect narcotics and cancer in a person’s breath, and that the company was expected to earn millions of dollars in sales revenue through distribution contracts.  In truth and in fact, Nanobeak never developed the purported technology, and it was impossible for the company to generate revenue because there was no breathalyzer device to sell and accordingly, no distribution contracts.

BARBERA also falsely represented that Nanobeak would soon have an initial public offering (“IPO”), which would result in large profits to investors.  In truth and in fact, the company was not close to an IPO, and BARBERA was permanently barred from serving as the CEO of a public company as a result of a prior, unrelated proceeding brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

BARBERA falsely represented that he had undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics from New York University, and that he had a business degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  In truth and in fact BARBERA never finished college and never attended MIT.

BARBERA converted to his own use at least approximately $3.3 million of the approximately $8.4 million in investor funds in the form of cash withdrawals and to pay personal expenses, including private school and college tuition for his children, mortgage payments on his Central Park West apartment, and for his other personal items, such as credit card bills, jewelry, automobiles, and daily living expenses.

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BARBERA, 65, of New York, New York, was convicted at trial of one count of securities fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.  BARBERA faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the securities and wire fraud counts and a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy count.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence imposed upon BARBERA will be determined by the judge.  BARBERA is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Koeltl on June 15, 2022.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NASA’s Office of Inspector General, and also thanked the SEC for its assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher, Daniel Loss, and Joshua A. Naftalis are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
22-050
Updated February 17, 2022