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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Two Men Found Guilty Of Wire Fraud And Money Laundering In Connection With Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Targeting The Elderly

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that ANDREW OWIMRIN, a/k/a “Andrew Owens,” a/k/a “Jonathan Stewart,” and SHAHRAM KETABCHI, a/k/a “Steve Ketabchi,” were found guilty today in Manhattan federal court of conspiring to commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering in connection with a telemarketing scheme.  OWIMRIN and KETABCHI were convicted following 12-day trial before United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Andrew Owimrin and Shahram Ketabchi conspired to target and victimize elderly people through aggressive and deceptive telemarketing.  The various so-called investment opportunities were really just variations on fraudulent schemes to steal investors’ money.  Now Owimrin and Ketabchi await sentencing for their crimes.”

According to the Superseding Indictment, other filings in Manhattan federal court, and the evidence presented at trial:

Beginning in at least October 2013 through March 21, 2017, OWIMRIN and KETABCHI worked for 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 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.  OWIMRIN worked as a sales representative for two of the Telemarketing Companies, Olive Branch Marketing and A1 Business Consultants.  KETABCHI, who worked for A1 Business Consultants, was responsible for, among other things, the submission of false documentation to the credit card companies in order to challenge the Victims’ attempts to recover their funds.

Thirteen other individuals have been convicted in connection with this case:

Defendant Name

Companies

Count(s) of Conviction

Arash Ketabchi

A1 Business Consultants,

Elevated Business Consultants,

Element Business Services

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. § 1349)

William Sinclair

Olive Branch Marketing,

Paramount Business Solutions

Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1349)

Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

(18 U.S.C. § 1956(h))

Michael Finocchiaro

Olive Branch Marketing,

Paramount Business Solutions

Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1349)

Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

(18 U.S.C. § 1956(h))

Narcotics Conspiracy

(21 U.S.C. § 846)

Joseph McGowan

Carlyle Management Group,

Vanguard Business Solutions

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Christopher Wilson

Olive Branch Marketing,

Paramount Business Solutions,

CTO Consulting

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Jack Kavner

Carlyle Management Group,

Vanguard Business Solutions

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Daniel Quirk

Carlyle Management Group,

Vanguard Business Solutions

Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1349)

Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

(18 U.S.C. § 1956(h))

Narcotics Conspiracy

(21 U.S.C. § 846)

Peter DiQuarto

Elenchus Business Services

Harbinger Capital

 

 

Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1349)

Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

(18 U.S.C. § 1956(h))

Narcotics Conspiracy

(21 U.S.C. § 846)

Thomas O’Reilly

CTO Consulting

Obstruction of Justice

(18 U.S.C. § 1519)

Raymond Quiles

Prestige Worldwide

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Brooke Marcus

First Trend

Tri-Star

Elite Business Services

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Anthony Medeiros

Virtual Business Plus

Narcotics Conspiracy

(21 U.S.C. §§ 846)

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

(18 U.S.C. § 1349)

 

*                      *                      *

OWIMRIN, 29, of Hackensack, New Jersey, and KETABCHI, 47, of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, were each convicted of 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.  OWIMRIN and KETABCHI are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Stein on February 12, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively.

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. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the New York City Police Department. 

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

If you believe to have been a victim of the telemarketing companies listed above, including a victim entitled to restitution, and you wish to provide information to law enforcement and/or receive notice of future developments in the case or additional information, please contact Wendy Olsen-Clancy, the Victim Witness Coordinator at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, at 866-874-8900 or wendy.olsen@usdoj.gov.  You may also report it to Detective Christopher Bastos at 917-480-7167 or christopher.bastos@nypd.org.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-390
Updated November 7, 2018