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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

U.K. Citizen Admits Role In Oversses Investment Scam

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

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Martin Rhys-Jones, 52, a citizen of the United Kingdom, who was extradited from Spain, pleaded guilty to laundering money derived in a wire fraud conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippilito, who along with retired Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, handled the case, stated that Jones oversaw a “boiler room” scam in Barcelona, Spain, which conned investors in the United Kingdom and Canada into buying nearly worthless shares of restricted stock at severely inflated prices. Customers were told they were buying more valuable, regular shares of stock.

Approximately 250 investors lost more than $2,900,000 in the scam. A portion of the criminal proceeds were funneled through a bank account in Western New York before being sent to numerous overseas accounts controlled by Jones and his co-conspirator, Arnold Wrobel, a former resident of Buffalo. Wrobel was convicted in December 2015 and is awaiting sentencing. 

A total of 12 defendants were arrested in the case, four have been convicted.  

The plea is the result of an investigation on the part of Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of James S. Spero, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Office, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent in Charge.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 24, 2016 before Judge Wolford.

Updated June 1, 2016