Founder And Former CEO Of Technology Firm Pleads Guilty To Multimillion-Dollar Fraud On Investors
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced that MARYSE LIBURDI pled guilty to defrauding investors in a technology company founded and operated by LIBURDI. As a result of LIBURDI’s fraud, the victim-investors lost more than $6 million. LIBURDI pled guilty earlier today in Manhattan federal court before United States District Judge Denise L. Cote, who is scheduled to sentence LIBURDI on September 29, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “For at least five years, while her company earned little or no revenue, Maryse Liburdi, the founder and former CEO of a technology company, lied to investors about her company’s success and converted the funds they invested to her own use. In this way, Liburdi stole more than $1 million, and used it to pay rent on her Manhattan apartment, purchase luxury clothing, and pay spa bills. We are committed to fully enforcing the laws that ensure that executives are truthful with investors.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment to which LIBURDI pled guilty, a criminal complaint filed against LIBURDI, and statements made during the plea and other court proceeding proceedings:
Since at least in or about 2010, LIBURDI perpetrated a multi-year scheme to defraud individuals into investing in a technology company (the “Company”) founded and run by LIBURDI. LIBURDI repeatedly made misrepresentations to investors about the Company’s revenue and assets, manipulated Company bank accounts to hide the Company’s true financial condition and, contrary to LIBURDI’s express promises to the investors, converted investor funds to her own use.
While LIBURDI repeatedly told investors that the Company had millions of dollars in revenue, the Company’s bank records show that, from at least 2008 until the Company ceased operating in January 2015, the Company earned little or no revenue. Moreover, as reflected in the Company’s bank records, LIBURDI misappropriated investor funds, transferring over $1 million to her and her former husband’s bank accounts and to pay LIBURDI’s personal expenses, including luxury clothing. For example, LIBURDI used funds from one victim investor for, among other things, transfers to a personal bank account in the name of LIBURDI and her former husband; rental payments for LIBURDI’s three-bedroom Manhattan apartment; payments for personal credit cards; and substantial personal expenditures on corporate credit cards, including, among other things, expenditures at various retail clothing, accessories, and cosmetics stores, salons and spas, and wine and liquor stores.
In order to hide her scheme, LIBURDI manipulated the Company’s bank accounts by, on at least three occasions, writing checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars drawn on accounts with insufficient funds in order to fraudulently inflate the balance of a Company bank account and thereby hide the Company’s true cash balance from the investors. For example, in October 2013, LIBURDI wrote and deposited into the Company’s bank account a $700,000 check drawn on a different account that had a balance of only about $2,000. LIBURDI then falsely represented to the victims that the Company’s bank account held approximately $700,000 and showed investors a bank statement for the Company account listing the inflated balance. As result of LIBURDI’s fraud, victim-investors in the Company lost more than $6 million.
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LIBURDI, 45, formerly of Victoria, Minnesota, and New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the FBI. He also thanked Italian law enforcement authorities, including Interpol Rome, for their assistance in LIBURDI’s arrest, as well as the Department of Justice’s Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and the DOJ Office of International Affairs.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisha J. Kobre is in charge of the prosecution.