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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 12, 2019

Michigan Man Pleads Guilty For His Role in Scheme That Defrauded Victims Out Of Millions Of Dollars

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Leonard Smith, 54, of Clawson, Michigan, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $769,200 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas A. Penrose, who is handling the case, stated that between May 2010 and July 2015, the defendant conspired with others fraudulently to obtain money and property from investors. As part of the scheme, Smith, who was a financial advisor, solicited investments from his clients at two companies—i2i Capital LLC and i2i Settlement Partners LLC. The companies, which were formed by co-conspirators Christopher Dillon and Gilbert Lynagh, were incorporated in Delaware but listed a business address in Lancaster, NY.

Thereafter, Smith, Dillon, Lynagh, and other members of the conspiracy, caused 27 victims to invest over $5,000,000 in i2i Capital and/or i2i Settlement Partners. False and fraudulent representations were made to victims regarding the nature of the investment and the associated risks, duration, and rates of return. Smith also misrepresented his compensation regarding the victims’ investments in the companies.  The majority of victim funds were utilized by Smith, Dillon, Lynagh, and other members of the conspiracy in a manner that was not authorized by the victims, including for personal use. None of the victims received the promised return on their investments, and none saw the return of their original investment funds as promised by Smith, Dillon, and Lynagh.

Gilbert Lynagh and Christopher Dillon were previously convicted for their roles in the conspiracy.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Buffalo Office, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 18, 2019, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

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Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Updated August 15, 2019