Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Examples of Ponzi Scheme Investment Frauds Exposed in 2006

FBI Lets Scammer Run Rampant in Secret Crime Syndicate Operation

03/06 - (NJ) An accountant admitted helping a convicted con man from Saddle River hide millions of dollars in investor money by falsely recording business expenses.

Richard Antoniotti, 52, of Hasbrouck Heights told a federal judge in Newark that he knew that the chief financial officer at Wellesley Services LLC routinely directed a co-conspirator to sign checks for funds that would end up in the hands of Thomas Giacomaro.

Giacomaro, 51, was sentenced in February 2004 to 14 years in prison for bilking $80 million out of 200 investors, including best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark and senior citizens living on fixed incomes.

In pleading guilty to conspiracy, Antoniotti said Monday that CFO Anthony Bianco directed him to record the payments on Wellesley's books as legitimate business expenses -- even though he knew that the checks would be cashed and given to Giacomaro as spending money.

Antoniotti also admitted that alleged co-conspirator Peter Dobbins signed checks and authorized wire transfers to pay the personal credit card bills of Giacomaro and his wife, and to buy expensive homes and fund costly real estate improvements for Giacomaro, Bianco and other alleged members of the scheme.

Authorities said Giacomaro was secretly helping the FBI investigate organized crime when he headed the multimillion-dollar pyramid scheme, creating businesses that offered exorbitant returns but instead funneled the money to the conspirators.

At the center of the scheme was Wellesley Services, which billed itself as a specialist in purchasing small firms in the transportation, trash, courier and fuel oil industries.

Antoniotti pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

See also What is a Ponzi Scheme, Charles Ponzi, Ponzi Scheme, What is Ponzi Scheme?