BLJ: Skretny hands down sentence in #investment #fraud case

A retired Boston, Mass., police detective was sentenced to three months of home confinement by U.S. Senior District Judge William Skretny last week after the man was convicted of helping Michael Wilson defraud investors.

Daniel Rice, 53, of Stoughton, Mass., also was given two years of supervised release after the home confinement. He was convicted of wire fraud in March.

Wilson, 30, formerly of Hamburg, was convicted in July of wire fraud for deals entered into by his fraudulent companies between 2008 and 2010. Wilson made news for purchasing several town of Hamburg homes in 2008 for $6.3 million.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Allen Jr., who handled the case, Rice aided and abetted Wilson in defrauding investors by promising large returns on phantom investments through companies known as New Frontier.

Rice pleaded guilty for his involvement in a deal brokered in January 2010, in which the defendant induced a Montana broker to wire $100,000 as part of a phony investment with Zodiak Capital, one of Wilson’s fraudulent New Frontier companies. Rice kept $40,000 before passing the remaining $60,000 on to a Wilson account at HSBC Bank in Buffalo.

In July 2010, Rice was involved in a second deal with Zodiak and failed to tell the Montana broker about Zodiak’s connection to Wilson’s companies. As a result, on July 15 and 19, 2010, a total of $71,875 of a second investor’s money was wired into accounts in the Buffalo area that were controlled by Wilson. The money was recovered after the government applied to have the receiving bank accounts frozen. The funds eventually were returned to the second investor, who lives in Utah.

Wilson attempted to defraud investors out of more than $10 million by creating several phantom investment companies known collectively as New Frontier, which included Zodiak, Carnic LLC, Phantom Holdings and others, all purportedly located at 6553 Boston State Road in Hamburg. Wilson thereafter induced individuals and companies to invest in financial instruments with complex sounding names such as leveraging agreements that promised high-yield earnings and returns in short periods of time.

But rather than investing clients’ money, Wilson spent it on a variety of personal items including $2.5 million as a down payment for Boston State Road properties, artwork and automobiles including a Hummer, Corvette, two Land Rovers and a Mercedes ML 500.

In January 2009, Wilson paid $1,800 to hire an actor from a talent agency to portray a person using the name of an alias (George Possiodis), the name and persona Wilson used during the scheme. Just prior to his indictment, Wilson fled to Canada and then Vietnam in order to evade authorities. He was apprehended there and returned to the Western District of New York to face charges.

Wilson’s sentencing is scheduled Oct. 25 before Skretny.


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