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Justice News

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

Monday, January 9, 2017

Another Sentenced in $23 Million Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON – Another person has been ordered to federal prison in relation to a $23 million nonexistent commercial accounts receivable scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Special Agent in Charge Rick Goss of IRS-Criminal Investigation (CI).


Stefano Guido Vitale, 40, of Scottsdale, Arizona, pleaded guilty March 21, 2016. Co-defendants Alan Leschyshyn, 53, of Cave Creek, Arizona; Bree Ann Davis, 40, of Lakewood, Colorado, and Tammie Roth Hanania, 59, and Edward Peter Hanania, 64, both of Folsom, California, all had previously entered their respective guilty pleas. All were convicted of conspiring to engage a scheme to defraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Vitale and Leschyshyn were also convicted of eight additional counts of wire fraud.


Today, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore sentenced Vitale to serve a total of 262 months in federal prison immediately followed by three years of supervised release. The court also ordered he pay restitution of $6,177,069.11.


In November 2016, Leschyshyn was ordered to serve 235 months followed by five years of supervised release. Tammie and Edward Hanania were ordered to serve 12 months and one day in prison and two years of supervised release. Davis will be sentenced later this month.


The scheme produced approximately $6.4 million in fraudulently obtained proceeds which the defendants agreed to launder through various bank accounts. They executed the scheme to defraud by using and establishing various business entities to sell, at a discount, nonexistent commercial accounts receivable. The defendants would approach factoring companies as sellers of customized gaming vault bundles and present fabricated invoices as evidence the defendants were owed a certain amount of money for goods provided to another one of their business entities. To establish creditworthiness of these companies and to convince the factoring company the credit risk was minimal, the defendants fabricated and/or altered documents and provided them to the factoring company.


The fraud conspiracy also proved that Vitale and Leschyshyn defrauded BOKF, NA, doing business as Bank of Arizona, when they applied for and received a $1 million line of credit secured by the Export Import Bank of the United States.


Vitale will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.


IRS-CI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the case.

Financial Fraud
Updated January 9, 2017