Investment Company Owner Sentenced To 188 Months In Prison For Wire Fraud And Money Laundering
CINCINNATI – Glen Galemmo, 49, who owned Queen City Investments and other investment companies in the Cincinnati area, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 188 months in prison for soliciting millions of dollars from his company’s investors between 2005 and July 2013 and spending the money rather than investing it.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS) announced the sentence imposed today by Senior U.S. District Judge Herman Weber.
Galemmo, who now lives in South Carolina, pleaded guilty on January 15, 2014 to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. According to court documents, Galemmo lured investors with promotional materials falsely claiming returns of more than 30 percent over seven years.
“What makes Galemmo’s conduct so egregious – and separates him from a defendant who embezzles money from his employer or commits mortgage fraud – is that he lied to investors on a daily basis, over and over again, over the course of many years, and in so doing, he destroyed the financial future of countless individuals,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Glatfelter told the court prior to sentencing.
For eight years, Galemmo operated a “Ponzi scheme” using money from new investors to pay off earlier investors. Galemmo received approximately $87 million cumulatively from individual investors, trusts, charitable organizations, and retirement accounts. During this time, Galemmo also received approximately $29 million from some of these investors in the form of short-term loans. The vast majority of these funds were never invested in anything. Galemmo used the investor accounts as his personal bank, paying country club fees, taking luxurious vacations and buying real estate, clothing and jewelry.
Galemmo sent fraudulent monthly statements to investors. To create the monthly statements, each client's principal investment balance was merely multiplied by a fictitious percentage of return, consistent with the returns that Galemmo had promised to his clients. The statements showed positive account balances and fictitious earnings, when in fact, the money had not been invested as promised. Investigators identified approximately 140 victims of Galemmo’s scheme.
Galemmo agreed to forfeit three pieces of real estate, including a condo in Marco Island, Florida, the contents of bank and investment accounts and five vehicles. The government also is asking the court to order that Galemmo forfeit more than $5 million in cash and investments, including some cash and investments that Galemmo transferred to his wife in an attempt to avoid the government seizing the assets. If the court orders the forfeiture, the forfeited property will go toward victim restitution.
“A person who creates a web of financial lies will soon be caught up in it. Mr Galemmo offered rates of return of over 30% to his clients and unfortunately these were false promises,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation by IRS special agents as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Glatfelter and Tim Mangan, who are prosecuting the case.