PTC Inc. Subsidiaries Agree to Pay More Than $14 Million to Resolve Foreign Bribery Charges

Two subsidiaries of Massachusetts software company PTC Inc. entered into a non-prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $14.54 million penalty today to resolve the government’s investigation into whether the companies improperly provided recreational travel to Chinese government officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

According to admissions made in the resolution documents, Parametric Technology (Shanghai) Software Company Ltd. and Parametric Technology (Hong Kong) Ltd. (collectively, PTC China), through local business partners, arranged and paid for employees of various Chinese state-owned enterprises to travel to the United States, ostensibly for training at PTC Inc.’s headquarters in Massachusetts, but primarily for recreational travel to other parts of the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Hawaii.  PTC China paid a total of more than $1 million through its business partners to fund these trips, while during the same time period, PTC China entered into more than $13 million in contracts with the Chinese state-owned entities.  Company employees typically accompanied the Chinese officials on these trips.  PTC China admitted that the cost of these recreational trips was routinely hidden within the price of PTC China’s software sales to the Chinese state-owned entities whose employees went on the trips.

As part of the non-prosecution agreement, PTC China agreed to pay the criminal penalty, to continue to cooperate with the department, to enhance its compliance program and to periodically report to the department on the implementation of its enhanced compliance program.  The department reached this resolution based on a number of factors.  Among other factors, PTC China did not receive voluntary disclosure credit or full cooperation credit because, at the time of its initial disclosure, it failed to disclose relevant facts that it had learned in connection with a prior internal investigation and did not disclose those facts until the department uncovered additional information independently and brought them to PTC China’s attention.  By the conclusion of the investigation, however, the companies had provided to the department all relevant facts known to them, including information about individuals involved in the FCPA misconduct.

In a related matter, PTC Inc. reached a settlement today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under which it agreed to pay $11,858,000 in disgorgement plus $1.764 million in prejudgment interest.  Thus, the approximately $28 million in combined penalty and disgorgement far exceeds the $13 million in contracts associated with the improper payments.

The FBI’s Boston Field Office investigated the case.  Trial Attorney Aisling O’Shea of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts and the SEC also provided assistance during the investigation.

Private Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribing Former U.S. Postal Service Contracting Official

A private contractor pleaded guilty today to paying bribes to a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) contracting official in order to receive contracts to deliver the mail.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein of the District of Maryland and USPS Inspector General David C. Williams made the announcement.

Barbara Murphy, 52, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George Jarrod Hazel of the District of Maryland, who set sentencing for June 13, 2016.

According to a factual stipulation filed with the court, Murphy was the sole owner of ER&R Transportation and MC&G Trucking LLC, which she used to bid for and perform on transportation contracts with USPS.  Murphy admitted that from January 2011 to July 2012, she bribed Gregory Cooper, a former USPS contracting officer representative.  These bribes included cash paid directly into Cooper’s bank accounts, automobile loan payments, college tuition for Cooper’s daughter, five cell phone bill payments, an airline ticket and fitness equipment, Murphy admitted.

According to the plea agreement, Murphy gave all of these benefits in exchange for Cooper’s favorable treatment of her companies when contracting opportunities with the USPS arose, in violation of Cooper’s lawful duty to the USPS.  Specifically, Cooper recommended to his superiors that 10 USPS contracts on which Murphy bid during the relevant time period be awarded to Murphy’s companies, she admitted.  Additionally, Murphy admitted that Cooper provided her with advice on how to address specific issues that arose from her contract performance and drafted documents that Murphy provided to the USPS.

On Nov. 15, 2015, Judge Hazel sentenced Cooper to 15 months in prison for bribery.

The USPS Office of the Inspector General investigated the case.  Trial Attorneys Mark Cipolletti and Monique Abrishami of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Salem of the District of Maryland are prosecuting the case.

Executives of Swiss and Las Vegas Companies Convicted in International Investment Fraud Scheme

A federal jury in Las Vegas convicted two men of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud yesterday for their roles in an approximately $10 million international investment fraud scheme involving numerous victims.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Laura A. Bucheit of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office made the announcement.

Anthony Brandel, 48, of Las Vegas, and James Warras, 69, of Waterford, Wisconsin, were each convicted of one count of conspiracy, nine counts of wire fraud and eight counts of securities fraud following a five-day trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson of the District of Nevada.  The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2016, by Judge Dawson.

According to evidence presented at trial, Brandel and Warras conspired with others in the United States and Switzerland to promote investments and loan instruments that they knew to be fraudulent.  The conspirators told victims that, for an up-front payment, a Swiss company known as the Malom (Make A Lot of Money) Group AG would provide access to lucrative investment opportunities and substantial cash loans.  To effectuate this scheme, the defendants fabricated bank documents purporting to show that the Malom Group had large amounts of money in several European financial institutions.  And as part of an effort to defraud an investor who held an equity stake in a corporation that had filed for bankruptcy, Warras submitted a sworn affidavit to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of New Hampshire in which he made false statements about the value of certain bonds that the defendants promoted to the investor.

Brandel and Warras were charged together with four other defendants, including Joseph Micelli, 62, a former California attorney who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud and is set to be sentenced on Feb. 23, 2016.  The remaining defendants are either at large or awaiting extradition from other countries.

The FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office investigated the case.  Assistant Chief Brian R. Young and Trial Attorneys Melissa Aoyagi and Anna G. Kaminska of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case with assistance from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.  The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division, which referred the matter to the department and is conducting a parallel civil enforcement investigation, also provided valuable assistance.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.  For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.

Owner of Los Angeles Medical Supply Company Convicted in $4 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted a Los Angeles man and owner of a medical supply company today for his role in a $4 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Assistant Director in Charge David L. Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

According to evidence presented at trial, Valery Bogomolny, 43, used his company, Royal Medical Supply, to bill Medicare $4 million between January 2006 and October 2009 for power wheelchairs (PWCs), back braces and knee braces that were medically unnecessary, not provided to beneficiaries or both.  The evidence further showed that Bogomolny created false documentation to support his false billing claims, including creating fake reports of home assessments that never occurred.  Bogomolny personally delivered PWCs to beneficiaries who were able to walk without assistance and signed documents stating that he had delivered equipment when the equipment was not actually delivered.  Bogomolny ultimately received $2.7 million from Medicare on these false claims.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 29, 2016, before U.S. District Judge S. James Otero of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.

The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  Trial Attorneys Fred Medick and Ritesh Srivastava of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting this case.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Army Captain Pleads Guilty to Gratuities Charge

A Colorado Springs, Colorado, man pleaded guilty today in federal court before U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina to solicitation and receipt of a gratuity, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

In connection with his plea, Captain David Anthony Kline, 32, admitted that while serving as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army stationed at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) in Afghanistan, he sought and accepted $50,000 in gratuities from a contractor who was doing business with the U.S. military.  Specifically, from January 2008 to April 2009, then-1st Lt. Kline was deployed to KAF where he oversaw the handling of transportation movement requests (TMRs) directing the transport of supplies from one location to another across Afghanistan.  Although contracting procedures technically did not permit the authorizing officer to specify the particular Afghan trucking company that would perform the transportation, in practice, Kline and others were able to designate the Afghan company of their choice.  Kline admitted that he sought and accepted $50,000 in U.S. currency from an Afghan national who owned a trucking company doing business on government contracts at KAF, in return for Kline’s facilitation of the award and payment of numerous transportation contracts.

The case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigation Service, Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and FBI.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Wade Weems of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Two Former Rabobank Traders Convicted for Manipulating U.S. Dollar, Yen LIBOR Interest Rates

A federal jury convicted two former Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) derivative traders – including the bank’s former Global Head of Liquidity & Finance in London – today for manipulating the London InterBank Offered Rates (LIBOR) for the U.S. Dollar (USD) and the Yen, benchmark interest rates to which trillions of dollars in interest rate contracts were tied.  Five former Rabobank employees have now been convicted in the Rabobank LIBOR investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Director in Charge Paul Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

“Today’s verdicts illustrate the department’s successful efforts to hold accountable bank executives responsible for this global fraud scheme,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “This investigation—which also resulted in the recent conviction of a bank executive in the U.K.—exemplifies the department’s work with our international partners to protect our global markets from fraud.  The verdicts also demonstrate the department’s ongoing efforts to hold individuals who use their corporate positions to commit fraud personally responsible for their actions.”

“The department will continue to pursue aggressively those involved in illegal schemes that undermine the integrity of financial markets,” said Assistant Attorney General Baer.  “And we will hold individuals criminally accountable for directing illegal corporate behavior.”

“These convictions make clear that bank executives and traders will be held accountable for manipulating world interest rates for their own personal benefit,” said Assistant Director in Charge Abbate.  “Today’s verdict is a testament to the dedication of the special agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked tirelessly to uncover manipulation and fraud in the global financial system.”

After a four-week trial, a jury in the Southern District of New York found Anthony Allen, 44, of Hertsfordshire, England, and Anthony Conti, 46, of Essex, England, guilty of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and substantive counts of wire fraud.

As the trial evidence showed, LIBOR is an average interest rate, calculated based upon submissions from leading banks around the world and reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be charged if borrowing from other banks.  At the time relevant to the charges, LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at 15 maturities, ranging from overnight to one year, and was published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a London-based trade association, based on submissions from a panel of 16 banks, including Rabobank.  Allen, Conti and Paul Robson, who previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, each determined Rabobank’s LIBOR submissions on various occasions.

LIBOR serves as the primary benchmark for short-term interest rates globally and is used as a reference rate for many interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other consumer lending products.  Rabobank invested in various derivatives contracts that were directly affected by the relevant LIBOR rates on a certain dates.  If the relevant LIBOR moved in the direction favorable to the defendants’ positions, Rabobank and the defendants benefitted at the expense of the counterparties.  When LIBOR moved in the opposite direction, the defendants and Rabobank stood to lose money to their counterparties.

Evidence at trial established that Allen, who was Rabobank’s global head of liquidity and finance and the manager of the company’s money market desk in London, oversaw a system in which Rabobank employees who traded in these LIBOR-linked derivative products influenced the employees who submitted Rabobank’s LIBOR contributions to the BBA.  These traders asked Allen, Conti, Robson and others to submit LIBOR contributions that would benefit the traders’ or the banks’ trading positions.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 10, 2016.

In addition to Allen and Conti, three other former Rabobank employees have been convicted in the Rabobank LIBOR investigation.  Robson, Lee Stewart and Takayuki Yagami each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in connection with their roles in the scheme.  Two other former Rabobank employees, Tetsuya Motomura, 42, of Tokyo, and Paul Thompson, 48, of Dalkeith, Australia, have also been charged.  Rabobank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the department on Oct. 29, 2013, and agreed to pay a $325 million penalty to resolve violations arising from Rabobank’s LIBOR submissions.

The case was investigated by special agents, forensic accountants and intelligence analysts in the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The prosecution is being handled by Senior Litigation Counsel Carol L. Sipperly and Assistant Chief Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Michael T. Koenig of the Antitrust Division.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Deputy Chief Daniel Braun and Assistant Chief Brent Wible of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are thanked for their substantial assistance in this matter.

The Justice Department expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by various enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department and, along with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, played a major role in the LIBOR investigation.  The Securities and Exchange Commission also played a significant role in the LIBOR series of investigations, and the department expresses its appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance and ongoing cooperation.   The department has worked closely with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch Central Bank in the investigation of Rabobank.  Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also participating in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their cooperation and assistance.

This prosecution is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.  For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.

Florida Investment Advisor Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Orchestrating $9 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

A Tampa, Florida, area investment advisor was sentenced to 18 months in prison today for perpetrating a $9 million investment fraud scheme involving Facebook stock.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office and Inspector in Charge Ronald J. Verrochio of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Miami Division made the announcement.

Gignesh Movalia, 40, a registered investment advisor, was also ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday of the Middle District of Florida to pay $5,394,419 in restitution and to three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.  Movalia pleaded guilty on Aug. 13, 2015, to one count of investment advisor fraud.

In connection with his guilty plea, Movalia admitted that he founded OM Global Investment Fund LLC in 2009 and subsequently used the fund to defraud investors.  Specifically, in 2011 and 2012, Movalia raised more than $9 million from 130 investors by falsely claiming to have access to pre-initial public offering shares of Facebook Inc.  Rather than using this money to buy Facebook shares as promised, however, Movalia invested the money in other securities and concealed that fact from investors.  By September 2013 when it went into receivership, the OM Global Fund lost approximately $9 million, with $6 million of those losses as a result of the fraud scheme.

The case was investigated by the FBI and USPIS, with assistance provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Miami Regional Office.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Andrew H. Warren of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Owner and Operator of Miami-Based Mental Health Centers Pleads Guilty in $70 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

An owner, a clinical director, and a therapist pleaded guilty today for their roles in a health care fraud scheme involving three Miami-based mental health centers.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Division and Special Agent in Charge Shimon Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.

Santiago Borges, 51, Erik Alonso, 45, and Cristina Alonso, 43, all of Miami, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro of the Southern District of Florida.  Borges pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay health care kickbacks.  Erik Alonso pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to make false statements relating to health care matters.  Cristina Alonso pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to make false statements relating to health care matters.

Borges owned the now-defunct mental health centers R&S Community Mental Health Inc. (R&S) and St. Theresa Community Mental Health Center Inc. (St. Theresa), and was an investor in New Day Community Mental Health Center LLC (New Day).  Erik Alonso was the clinical director of all three centers.  Cristina Alonso was a therapist at R&S.

R&S, St. Theresa and New Day were community mental health clinics that purported to provide intensive mental health services to Medicare beneficiaries in Miami.  In connection with their guilty pleas, the defendants admitted that, from 2008 through 2010, the clinics billed Medicare for costly partial hospitalization program (PHP) services that were not medically necessary or not provided to patients.  Borges admitted that he paid kickbacks to patient recruiters who, in exchange, referred beneficiaries to the centers.  Erik Alonso admitted that he oversaw the preparation of false patient records.  Cristina Alonso admitted that she fabricated patient records, including group therapy session notes that were used to support claims for reimbursement from Medicare.

According Borges’ plea agreement, between January 2008 and December 2010, the centers submitted more than $70 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.  Medicare paid approximately $28 million on those claims.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida.  This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney A. Brendan Stewart of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,300 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

Detroit-Area Physician Pleads Guilty for Role in $5.7 Million Fraud Scheme

A Detroit-area medical doctor who prescribed unnecessary controlled substances and billed for unperformed office visits and diagnostic testing pleaded guilty today for his role in a $5.7 million health care fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Jarod J. Koopman of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Laran Lerner, 59, of Northville, Michigan, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts of the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of health care fraud and one count of structuring cash transactions to avoid bank reporting requirements, as charged in a two-count information filed on Aug. 21, 2015.  Sentencing is set for Jan. 24, 2015.

According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, Lerner lured patients into his clinic with prescriptions for unnecessary controlled substances.  Lerner admitted that he billed and caused Medicare to be billed for a variety of unnecessary prescriptions, tests and office visits to make it appear as though he was providing legitimate medical services instead of medically unnecessary controlled substances.  According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, Medicare was billed $5,748,237.31, as a result of Lerner’s unnecessary prescriptions, office visits and diagnostic testing.

As part of the plea agreement, Lerner agreed to permanently surrender his Drug Enforcement Administration controlled substance registration and agreed not to re-apply in the future.

Lerner also pleaded guilty to structuring cash deposits he received as a result of his scheme to avoid triggering the requirement under federal law that domestic banks file a report – called a Currency Transaction Report – with the Secretary of Treasury for all transactions in currency over $10,000.  Lerner admitted that he knew about this requirement and caused his cash deposits to be structured in $5,000 increments on consecutive days at various branch locations in the Detroit area to avoid detection.  According to court documents, Lerner deposited $70,000 in cash in April 2013 alone by making deposits of $5,000 on fourteen different days.

The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and IRS-CI, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Elizabeth Young of the Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,300 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Florida Businessman Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Defraud Investors

Dozens of Investors Lost More Than $13 Million in Scheme

A Florida businessman was sentenced today to 17 years in prison for his role in an investment fraud scheme resulting in over $13 million in losses to dozens of investors.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen Jr. of the District of Columbia and Special Agent in Charge Kimberly A. Lappin of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Tampa Field Office made the announcement.

Donovan G. Davis Jr., 34, of Palm Bay, Florida, was found guilty by a jury on May 14, 2015, of one count of conspiracy to commit mail/wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud and eight counts of money laundering.  He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza of the Middle District of Florida, who ordered him to pay $10,520,005 in restitution jointly and severally with his co-defendants.

“Donovan Davis Jr. and his co-conspirators lied to persuade victims to invest their retirement savings and children’s college funds, and then concealed the investment fund’s extreme losses so that the victims would stay invested,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The investors lost everything, while Davis and others running the scam looted the fund to pay their own six-figure salaries, purchase luxury cars and travel in private planes.  This sentence will help hold Davis accountable for his crimes, but the investors he deceived will suffer for decades because of his greed and deceit.”

“Dozens of investors and their families lost millions of dollars because they put their trust in an investment firm that lied about its performance,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen.  “The deception of Donovan Davis Jr. and the others involved in this scheme caused great personal and financial harm to people, including many who lost their retirement savings.  Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of the defendant’s greedy, deceptive conduct and underscores our commitment to prosecuting those who commit financial crimes.  I commend the prosecutors from here in D.C. who held these criminals accountable for their deception in a Florida courthouse.”

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates how federal law enforcement will band together to help put an end to the criminal behavior of those who prey on investors to unjustly enrich themselves,” said Special Agent in Charge Lappin.  “IRS Criminal investigation and our law enforcement partners will relentlessly pursue those who mastermind and perpetrate investment fraud schemes.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Davis was the managing member of Capital Blu Management LLC, a Florida-based corporation that purported to offer investment and managed account services for investors in the off-exchange foreign currency, or “forex,” marketplace.  In 2007 and 2008, Davis solicited relatives, friends and associates to invest in Capital Blu.

In or about September 2007, according to evidence presented at trial, Davis and his co-conspirators formed the CBM FX Fund LP, which pooled investors’ money into a common fund to be traded by Capital Blu Management.  Many of Capital Blu’s managed-account investors transferred their investments into the CBM FX Fund.

According to the evidence presented at trial, CBM FX Fund had sustained significant trading losses, resulting in large losses for its investors.  Nevertheless, the evidence demonstrated that Davis and his co-conspirators made a series of misrepresentations to the investors about Capital Blu’s trading performance, the value of the fund and the risks of the fund.

For example, according to the evidence presented at trial, the Davis and his co-conspirators informed CBM FX Fund’s investors of positive monthly returns from January through August of 2008, even though the fund and its investors had sustained net losses of millions of dollars.  In addition, they diverted investors’ money from the fund to pay for Capital Blu’s operational expenses and personal expenses, including their own six-figure salaries and payments for the use of private airplanes and luxury cars.

In or about September 2008, the National Futures Association, an independent self-regulatory organization that oversees commodities and futures trading in the United States, conducted a surprise audit of Capital Blu and suspended its operations.  As of September 2008, investors had invested over $16.9 million into the CBM FX Fund and lost over $13 million.

Co-defendant  Blayne S. Davis (no relation to Donovan Davis Jr.), 34, formerly of Naples, Florida, pleaded guilty in July 2014 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $13,215,874 in restitution.  Co-defendant Damien L. Bromfield, 39, of Ocoee, Florida, pleaded guilty in November 2013 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is awaiting sentencing.

The case was investigated by a task force consisting of agents from the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Secret Service; Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and Brevard County, Florida, Sherriff’s Office.  Attorneys, agents and accountants from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), National Futures Association, Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also provided assistance to the investigation.  A related civil litigation was pursued by the CFTC, which resulted in a civil judgment against the defendants after a trial in 2011.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys David M. Fuhr and Ephraim Wernick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Hooks of the District of Columbia.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Catherine K. Connelly and Anthony Saler of the District of Columbia provided invaluable assistance on asset forfeiture matters.