Mark Steven Szekely sentenced to prison

February 7, 2015

Mark Steven Szekely (54, Ponte Vedra) to nine years in federal prison for wire fraud. The Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $454,972.65, the traceable proceeds of the offense, and ordered him to pay restitution to his victims in the same amount. Szekely pleaded guilty on October 14, 2014.

Mark Steven SzekelyAccording to court documents and testimony presented during the sentencing hearing, Szekely conducted a scheme to defraud others in which he swindled at least 17 individuals out of $454,972.65. Among the victims were his friends, members of his church, his children’s teachers, and a 17-year-old high school student who had saved money from babysitting. As part of his scheme, Szekely represented that he was an accomplished author with connections to entertainment lawyers in New York City that could assist the victims with copyrighting, publishing, and/or producing their works into Broadway plays or films. In reality, Szekely had no such connections, and instead, fraudulently created a list of fictitious lawyers and other professionals. In addition, several of the victims were defrauded into investing in “annuities” tied to a book Szekely had written and was allegedly being produced into a movie. Court testimony established that Szekely had not worked for approximately 12 years and had supported himself and his family with the proceeds of his fraud.


Bank Fraud earn prison sentence for Maria Rosa Esteves

January 20, 2015

MARIA ROSA ESTEVES, 41, of Bridgeport, was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $450,000 from the bank where she was Fraudemployed.  ESTEVES also was ordered to pay full restitution, and to perform 60 hours of community service during her term of supervised release.

According to court documents and statements made in court, ESTEVES was employed by People’s United Bank from 1993 to 2014.  Beginning in 2006, ESTEVES worked primarily in the bank’s Adjustments Department, ultimately holding the title of Lead Adjuster with responsibilities that included arranging for bank cashiers’ checks to be issued to customers when a customer’s account needed to be adjusted.  ESTEVES used her position in the Adjustments Department to embezzle $452.122.08 from the bank by causing the bank to issue cashiers’ checks that ESTEVES would then use to pay persons or entities that she owed money to, including her utility company, homeowner’s insurance company and mortgage providers.  ESTEVES also embezzled money by depositing cashiers’ checks into bank accounts she controlled and from which she, or others associated with her, were able to access the funds.  In total, ESTEVES misappropriated more than 300 cashiers’ checks.

ESTEVES was ordered to report to prison on March 2, 2015.

On August 14, 2014, ESTEVES pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from a federally insured bank.


Stuck in Prison – Gordon Grigg scheduled for Release…Early!

May 28, 2014

Gordon Grigg…scheduled for release 9/29/2014.

Gordon GriggSeems the court has had a change of heart when it comes to Mr. Grigg.  Wonder what his victims have to say about his early release?

Here’s the earlier report:  https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/gordon-grigg-staying-in-prison-says-judge-aleta-trauger-looks-like-the-good-deeds-dont-outweigh-the-bad/


Funeral Divas Muneerah Warner arrested and the Conference fails! Monica Vernette Gray shares insight! Questions remain!!!

November 13, 2012

Always on the forefront of the funeral industry – Connecting Directors – a leading provider of funeral news was on top of this breaking story that may, as the facts come out, turn into a fraud inquiry…?  Ryan, with Connecting Directors, interviewed via email former Funeral Divas, Inc board member – Monica Vernette Gray about the fiasco regarding the Chicago Conference.  The conversation is reproduced with permission from Connecting Directors.

Hello Ryan. Thanks for reaching out to me. I had a feeling you would.  : )

Man I don’t know where to start.  OK … Tuesday (11/6/2012) the evening before the conference, Muneerah Warner called me from the hotel and stated there was a problem with her credit card…she had no idea what was wrong with her credit card…the hotel needed another credit card…made some remark about needing shelter…

The New York Chapter president of Funeral Divas paid for Ms. Warner’s hotel room for that evening (even though Ms. Warner told her that everything would be paid for) and my credit card was supposed to be used to HOLD (not charge or pay) until Ms. Warner straightened out the issue with her credit card. Without me being present, or my credit card being present, the hotel charged my credit card $1,750.00 for the conference rooms.

STORY #1:  When I arrived at the hotel the following morning (Wednesday, 11/7/2012), Ms. Warner told me that while she was on the airplane en route to the conference, someone went to her bank in Alexandria, VA and withdrew $7,000.00 out of her account. She said the investigation into this was going to take 6 to 8 weeks … and the funds would not be available to her before then. I asked her to call someone to cover the cost of the hotel conference rooms and she said she had nobody to call. She said she only had $71 in her account.

In the meantime, I observed one of the presenters at the computer looking up addresses for local currency exchanges. She wanted to cash the $985.00 check that was presented to her by Ms. Warner. She also contacted the bank that the check was written on…and was told that the account the check was written on was no good. She told Ms. Warner she wanted cash, and Ms. Warner said she would ask ME for half of the money. !!!!!  I drove this presenter to a local currency exchange and after approximately 20 minutes of phone time, the

currency exchange refused to cash the check.

STORY #2:  As I remember this version of events relayed to me by the presenter, Ms. Warner told this presenter that a check had been deposited but had not cleared … and would not clear until Monday (11/12/2012).

Another presenter was also presented with a check by Ms. Warner…and Ms. Warner let her know that funds were not available to cover it.

The first presenter I mentioned above was livid, outraged … the whole gamut.  I told Ms. Warner my displeasure at the ways she handled things. I told her that she took advantage of me and, after the out-of=town folks returned to their respective states, I would have to deal with the embarrassment and fallout of what she came to my hometown to do.  I did not get the impression that Ms. Warner understood the magnitude and seriously of what was going on.  The first presenter and I had yet another discussion about the incredible events, and she called the Rosemont Police Department in Rosemont, IL. The officers instructed the presenters on the proper handling of this situation, and told them they would have to seek relief in civil court.

After I expressed my dilemma to the police officers, they took the matter to the hotel management. I was about to call my bank, but one of the managers demanded that I not call the bank …and they reversed the charges immediately.  They stated that Ms. Warner did not tell them to use my credit card to HOLD the conference rooms, but instructed them to go ahead and charge my credit card. There were no signed contracts with my signature on them with the hotel, and I never agreed to pay the hotel for the conference rooms. (In fact, I had ZERO contact with the hotel during the arrangement of this conference.) This left the $1,750 unpaid and since Ms. Warner did not have the means to pay it, she was arrested.  I believe the charge was “theft of services,” with the hotel being the injured party.

One of the police officers told me that I was too nice to people, too nice to Ms. Warner, and to never do that again.  Lesson learned.

The conference was disrupted and ended. The hotel provided a shuttle bus for the attendees to go to the Rosemont Police Department so they could copy driver’s licenses and collect telephone numbers of the attendees.  The detective told us that they called the bank in question, and there were NO identity theft issues associated with Ms. Warner’s account. Yeah … she lied to me about being the victim of identity theft.

Problems Problems Problems!!!!!

  1. The New York Chapter President was stranded in Chicago and not prepared to pay for any hotel rooms (as Ms. Warner told her this expense would be taken care). She spent the night with one of the presenters. GRACIOUSLY, ASD (one of the corporate sponsors for this conference) paid for a few nights at the hotel for this chapter present.
  2. I believe 17 people registered for the conference. There were national and local corporate sponsors for the conference. WHERE IS THIS MONEY???????????????????????????????????
  3. Why wasn’t the hotel paid in advance for this conference?
  4. Some of the conference registrants were able to contact their credit card companies and get the charges temporarily reversed while investigation takes place.

I do not know the specifics of Ms. Warner’s release or who paid what to get her out of jail.

I do not know what will become of Funeral Divas. I wish Funeral Divas well in future endeavors. As an organization, the premise is sound.  Intentions at one time were honorable.  I do not know what happened or went wrong. I NEVER thought I would witness and experience the events of last week.

I do not know what happened to the monies collected from conference registrations and corporate sponsorships. I believe a complete financial forensic audit of Funeral Divas is appropriate and in order.

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to share my horrific and humiliating experience.

Monica Vernette Gray

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Dan Frishberg apparently in violation of SEC order not to offer Investment Advice. Will there ever be Justice in this case?

November 6, 2012

Hello everyone Dan, here. How often do you hear yourself saying “no I haven’t looked at that yet, but I’ve been meaning to?”

Thus began an email written to my by none other than Dan Frishberg.  Yes, Dan Frishberg of disgraced BizRadio fame, the same Dan Frishberg that is banned from the SEC in offering investment advice…not that it seems the SEC has any teeth when it comes to Dan and his continued radio commentary.

I just read yet another email from a frustrated trader telling me that the trading techniques, the pattern recognition software, or the black box strategies that he believed in are simply not working.

Wow…again I’m confused.  You received “yet another email from a frustrated trader” – but Dan you’re not supposed to be offering investment advice so why would you be receiving any emails from traders?  What am I missing here?

Brokers are telling their customers to ignore their losses and hang on, but that’s what they always say. Sometimes that advice works, but it has also resulted in some of the biggest losses in the past twenty years.

Oh my…”some of the biggest losses in the past twenty years” – wonder if that isn’t exactly what happened to people – good folks who couldn’t afford to lose – when they listened to your line about BizRadio and why they should invest in you.  Dan tell me – if they lost in you, why should they now listen to you – especially when you’re not supposed to be offering investment advice?  Damn this perplexes me!

One listener said he has finally realized technical analysis doesn’t work. This isn’t true, the current price is unquestionably a key part of the story but this is only part of it.

Only part of the story…seems that’s a mantra for you.  Has anyone who invested with you in BizRadio ever gotten the truth – the full story or even as much as an apology?

The paradox of investing is – it’s easy to make money when you stop searching for the easy answer.

Yet you and Al Kaleta offered “easy answers” to investors who by all accounts were defrauded.  Have you made restitution?  Have you made it easy for them to recover their monies?

Instead, get an update on what’s working now — the most up to the minute insight into the trends, turning points, and my best stock and option trade ideas in my all new newsletter, Whats Working Now.

You do have a big set of (whatever)…get “my best stock and option trade ideas” – good lord is that not in direct violation of the SEC requirement that you not offer investment advice?  Justice?  Doesn’t seem to be any here!

CLICK HERE – (I disabled this link as I’m not giving Dan Frishberg a link from my blog)

DANIEL FRISHBERG
THE MONEYMAN REPORT
themoneyman.com

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Birdie Leroy Revis pleads Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme… Choices and Consequences…

August 9, 2011

HOUSTON – An accused recruiter in a multi-million dollar health care fraud scheme scheduled for trial on Monday, has instead pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Birdie Leroy Revis, 60, of Houston, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge David Hittner this morning to conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. Trial had been scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday, Aug. 8, 2011.

Revis was a recruiter for Sefan Medical Supply (Sefan), a durable medical equipment provider, located in Houston. Based upon the joint investigative efforts of the agencies comprising the Medicare Fraud Strike Force into a $2.8 million scheme to defraud Medicare by Sefan, evidence was obtained proving that Revis’ role in the scheme was to provide Medicare beneficiary information to Sefan. Sefan, in turn, then billed Medicare for medically unnecessary durable medical equipment and supplies which were either not provided to Medicare beneficiaries or a lesser product from what was billed to Medicare was provided. The information was provided on a prescription form for arthritis kits. All the kits included a knee adjustment with air chamber, rigid frame back brace, elbow with joint, ankle gauntlet, flex glove with elastic finger, heat lamp with stand and a wrist brace. Sefan would order these items for both the left and right side. If the beneficiaries received any items, they did not receive the rigid brace items billed to Medicare, instead they would receive neoprene sleeves, which was not covered by Medicare.

Revis provided to Sefan information for more than 686 beneficiaries for which Sefan paid Revis approximately $400 per beneficiary for a total of more than $353,000. With the information provided by Revis, Sefan billed Medicare for more than $2.8 million worth of claims for arthritis kits and was paid more than $1.7 million for those fraudulent claims.

Revis remains on bond pending sentencing, which is set on Nov. 2, 2011. Revis faces a maximum of up to five years in prison to be followed by up to a three-year-term of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 for the kickback conspiracy conviction.

The owner of Sefan and the physician whose signature was on the prescriptions have also been convicted following their respective pleas of guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Kate Ose Olear, the owner of Sefan, was sentenced to 57 months in prison on Feb. 10, 2011, by United States District Judge David Hittner. John Edward Perry III, the physician, pleaded guilty in June 2010. He remains on bond pending his sentencing on Oct. 21, 2011, before United States District Judge Gray H. Miller.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force comprised of agents with the Department of Health and Human Services, Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion Division, Texas Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, United States Railroad Retirement Board and the FBI. Assistant United States Jennifer Lowery and Special Assistant United States Attorney Justin Blan are prosecuting the case.


$30 Million FOREX investment fraud – David R. Lewalski pleads guilty – prison likely to follow…

August 5, 2011

From time to time I wonder what motivates someone to perpetrate such a significant fraud?  Having been there, I understand that once the illusion is created it’s difficult to escape from the lack of reality that sets in, but still – what motivated it to start with?

David R. Lewalski, formerly of Gainesville, Fla., pleaded guilty today to mail fraud in connection with his operation of a $30 million investment fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill of the Middle District of Florida.

Lewalski, 47, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo in the Middle District of Florida and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

According to court documents, the defendant, who operated a company called Botfly LLC, willfully engineered and executed a scheme to defraud by promising victim investors that he could generate returns of up to 10 percent per month, compounded monthly, through his trading in the foreign currency (forex) market.  In fact, the defendant operated an investment fraud scheme.  The defendant and others working at his direction raised approximately $29,851,598 from victim investors, but the defendant used only a small percentage of those funds for forex trading (approximately $2.6 million), the vast majority of which he lost.

Lewalski admitted that instead of trading in the foreign currency market as he promised, he used the bulk of victim investor funds to make payments to other investors in order to perpetuate the scheme and make it appear as if he was generating the promised returns.  Lewalski paid investors $14,339,887 in “returns” that he led them to believe were generated by his forex trading when, in reality, he was merely paying them with other victim investors’ funds.  Lewalski also spent millions of dollars of victim investor funds on personal expenses, including high end real estate, private jet travel, luxury automobiles, computer equipment and jewelry.

YOUR COMMENTS WELCOME!


Venture Capitalist – Harvard H. Hill of Houston charged with Fraud!

August 3, 2011

NEWS RELEASE:

Harvard H. Hill, of Houston, has been charged with three counts of wire fraud in connection with an investment in the general partnership of a Houston-based venture capital fund he promoted.

Hill, 74, surrendered to FBI agents as a result of the return of the three-count indictment on July 21, 2011.

The indictment alleges that Hill defrauded an investor in the general partnership that managed the James Sunbelt Investment LP Fund that Hill promoted. Hill, who has operated venture capital funds in Houston under the name Houston Partners, solicited an investor to become a special limited partner in the general partnership. Under the supposed structure of the fund, the general partnership would receive 20% of the fund’s profit distributions and a 2% annual management fee. The special limited partner would receive a percentage of the general partnership’s stake, so the ability to repay the special limited partner depended in significant part on the amount invested in the fund given the annual 2% management fee.

The indictment alleges that Hill misrepresented that millions of dollars were already in the fund under the management of the general partnership, provided false information listing the names of companies in which the fund was supposedly invested and falsely claimed that professors at Rice and MD Anderson Cancer Center had agreed to serve on the fund’s Scientific Advisory Board. The indictment further alleges that within a week of the investor wiring $500,000 to Hill in July 2006, Hill had transferred over half the funds to a personal account in his name, a bank account controlled by a member of Hill’s family and an account in the name of another fund in which Hill had past due expenses. According to the indictment, within two months of receipt of the investment, more than 80% of the money had been spent and was not used for promoting and managing the fund.

Each wire fraud count carries a potential punishment of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME


Fraud – Donald Lapre – the Greatest Vitamin in the World – really, who would fall for that?

August 2, 2011

NEWS RELEASE

Indicted infomercial pitchman Donald Lapre, of Phoenix, who previously failed to appear at his arraignment on 41 counts for Conspiracy, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Promotional Money Laundering and Transactional Money Laundering, will remain in custody pending trial. At a hearing in Phoenix today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence O. Anderson ordered that Lapre be detained as a flight risk.

In the course of the hearing, the prosecution noted that Lapre had received notice of his scheduled arraignment and failed to appear, and that while he had recently been residing in Maricopa County, the investigating agencies were unable to locate any record of his current address through checks related to a residence, motor vehicle, driver’s license, telephone, or private post office box. The indictment alleges that the 47-year-old Lapre oversaw and promoted a nationwide scheme to sell essentially worthless Internet-based businesses to over 220,000 victims through his company “The Greatest Vitamin in the World.”

According to the indictment, from April 2003 through October 2007, Lapre allegedly conspired with others to defraud thousands of victims all across the country by encouraging them to invest in an Internet-based business. The “business” primarily consisted of selling the Greatest Vitamin in the World (GVW) over the Internet and the opportunity to sell the opportunity to do the same thing to others. At the height of the scheme, Lapre had enlisted approximately 226,794 people to sell a limited number of products via individual websites. Along with selling tens of thousands of Internet-based businesses which were essentially worthless, Lapre fraudulently provided his investor/victims, known as “Independent Advertisers” (IAs), with false vitamin sales records. These records encouraged IAs to purchase additional advertising and services in the hope of obtaining commissions including $1,000 checks. Lapre also fraudulently sold bulk Internet traffic to IAs while claiming that it was targeted to individuals who were seeking to either buy vitamins or invest in similar businesses. GVW sales representatives regularly signed up victims as IAs even if they did not own a computer. During the course of the scheme, at least 220,000 victim/IAs were defrauded of approximately $51.8 million. During this same period, approximately $6.3 million in commissions were paid to approximately 5,000 victim/IAs.

Trial is currently set for October 4, 2011, before U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton in Phoenix. Convictions in this case for Conspiracy carry a maximum penalty of five years, a $250,000 fine or both; Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud carry a maximum penalty of 25 years, a $250,000 fine or both; Promotional Money Laundering carry a maximum penalty of 20 years, a $500,000 fine or both; and Transactional Money Laundering carry a maximum penalty of 10 years, a $250,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Bolton will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Potential victims of this scheme may submit a victim statement via the following website operated by the Postal Inspection Service: www.postalinspectorsurvey.com/vitamins. Potential victims of this scheme may also keep track the progress of the case by visiting the following link located on the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona’s website: http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/us_v_donald_lapre_gvw.html

HERE’S a cool article related to Donald Lapre:  http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/lapre.html

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Social Security Fraud – Gaylynne Gale faces up to 10 years in federal prison…ouch…heavy price for a small benefit.

August 1, 2011

A 63-year-old Longview, Texas woman has pleaded guilty to social security fraud charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.  Facing up to 10 years in prison, Gaylynne Gale pleaded guilty to theft of government property charges today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Chad Everingham.

According to the indictment, from February 2004 until June 2010, Gale intentionally concealed her living arrangements with her ex-husband in order to receive more than $47,000 from the Social Security Administration in the form of Social Security Supplemental Security Income payments.  Her misrepresentation also caused a significant loss to the Texas Medicaid Program.  Gale was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 1, 2010.

The Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a federally administered cash assistance program designed to provide a floor of income for the aged, blind, or disabled who have little or no income or resources.  The Texas Medicaid program helps pay for reasonable and necessary medical procedures and services provided to individuals who are deemed eligible under state low-income programs.

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