You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Six New Jersey Men Charged In Manhattan Federal Court In Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Targeting The Elderly

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the arrest of ARASH KETABCHI, a/k/a “Zach Peterson,” ANDREW OWIMRIN, a/k/a “Andrew Owens, a/k/a “Jonathan Stewart,” WILLIAM SINCLAIR, MICHAEL FINOCCHIARO, a/k/a “Michael Foster,” ARIEL PERALTA, and JOSEPH McGOWAN for conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering.  KETABCHI, OWIMRIN, SINCLAIR, FINOCCHIARO, PERALTA, and McGOWAN were arrested this morning and will be presented this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman in Manhattan federal court.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, these defendants targeted the elderly, convincing them to ‘invest’ in their businesses with promises of financial returns.  In fact, as alleged, these defendants never fulfilled their promises, and instead swindled their victims out of thousands of dollars.  Thanks to the cooperative work of HSI and the NYPD, these defendants will now have to answer for their alleged criminal acts.” 

HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said: “For almost three years, these defendants allegedly targeted some of the most vulnerable in our society, the elderly, by running a fraudulent telemarketing scheme that bilked the victims out of several thousands of dollars.  It is very important that individuals do their due diligence when deciding to invest with companies. If the promise on returns seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “As alleged, the defendants targeted the elderly, promising big payoffs.  Instead, ‘investors’ were victim to a purported business development scheme that stole from our most vulnerable. Today, the defendants find themselves under arrest and facing serious charges. Thanks to the detectives, agents, and prosecutors whose work resulted in today’s announcement.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

Beginning in October 2013 through September 2016, KETABCHI, OWIMRIN, SINCLAIR, FINOCCHIARO, PERALTA, and McGOWAN operated a group of telemarketing companies (the “Telemarketing Companies”) that engaged in a fraudulent scheme (the “Telemarketing Scheme”), by which they promised to earn victims (the “Victims”) money in exchange for particular Victims making an initial cash “investment” in business development, website design, grant applications, or tax preparation services.  Many Victims, the majority of whom are over 70 years old, “invested” thousands of dollars with the Telemarketing Companies, but did not earn any of the promised returns.  When Victims of the Telemarketing Scheme sought refunds, or fought credit card charges, the Telemarketing Companies provided explanations and documentation to the credit card companies falsely representing that the Victims had received the promised services. 

KETABCHI, OWIMRIN, SINCLAIR, FINOCCHIARO, PERALTA, and McGOWAN participated in the Telemarketing Scheme by, among other things, operating the interrelated Telemarketing Companies as set forth in the chart below:

 

Telemarketing Company

 

Defendants

A1 Business Consultants

 

Element Business Services

 

Elevated Business Consultants

 

Arash Ketabchi, a/k/a “Zach Peterson”

 

Andrew Owimrin, a/k/a “Andrew Owens,” a/k/a “Jonathan Stewart”

 

Olive Branch Marketing

 

Paramount Business Solutions

 

William Sinclair

 

Michael Finocchiaro,  a/k/a “Michael Foster”

 

Carlyle Management Group

 

Ariel Peralta

Vanguard Business Solutions

 

Joseph McGowan

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    *                      *                      *

KETABCHI, 43, of Wayne, New Jersey, OWIMRIN, 27, of Hackensack, New Jersey, SINCLAIR, 37, of Secaucus, New Jersey, FINOCCHIARO, 34, of East Rutherford, New Jersey, PERALTA, 31, of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, and McGOWAN, 31, of West New York, New Jersey, are each charged with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.  

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI and the NYPD.  He added that the investigation is ongoing.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution. 

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

If you have any information regarding KETABCHI, OWIMRIN, SINCLAIR, FINOCCHIARO, PERALTA, or McGOWAN, or victims of the Telemarketing Companies, please report it by phone at 917-480-7167 or by email at christopher.bastos@nypd.org.

 

[1]  As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
17-089
Updated March 22, 2017