Sacramento, USA (July 29, 2020) – US authorities laid charges against three California men in connection with a multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme with victims all around the world including Canada. Christopher Mancuso, John Black, and Joseph Tufo are accused of running a phony securities scheme that defrauded over 70 investors out of more than US$10 million between March 2015 and January 2020. On July 23, Mancuso and Tufo were arrested. Black is currently at large. They are facing charges for a total of 32 felonies for operating a fraudulent securities scheme, grand theft, and investment fraud.
The California state attorney general’s office announced that they laid charges against Christopher Mancuso, John Black, and Joseph Tufo for an international multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme, according to a press release. The three California men allegedly defrauded investors around the world including Canada out of more than US$10 million.
Incredible returns at little to no risk
The prosecutors accused Mancuso, Black, and Tufo of operating a phony securities scheme between March 2015 and January 2020 to rob victims of millions of dollars. According to the attorney general’s office, the California men allegedly solicited investors to buy in on Financial Tree Trust, Financial Solutions Group Trust, and New Money Advisors LLC by promising incredible returns at little to no risk. They supposedly lured their victims by claiming to triple or quadruple their investments in four months or less.
‘In some instances, victims were allegedly defrauded of their savings by being told that they could triple an investment of $25,000 in just four months. In another instance, the defendants allegedly promised to quadruple an investment of $100,000 in just three months,’ the statement read.
When these investments came due, the suspects would allegedly ignore calls and emails or tell various lies including that delays were being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, instead of returning the money, they allegedly mainly kept it for their own personal financial gain.
‘Callousness’ international investment fraud scheme
According to the attorney general’s office, individual victims allegedly lost a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars each. Altogether, they are estimated to have allegedly stolen more than US$10 million from over 70 victims around the world including Canada, the USA, Germany, England, and Italy.
‘It takes a particular kind of callousness to rob people of their life’s savings by selling them on false hope,’ said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. ‘That’s the kind of fraud the defendants in this case have allegedly committed. We’re talking about as much money as some families earn in an entire year gone in just an instant. These are savings that can mean all the difference in getting a child through college or being able to retire.’
Charged with 32 felonies
Mancuso and Tufo were arrested in connection with the multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme on July 23 in California. Black is currently at large and his last known whereabouts were in and around Sacramento County, the attorney general’s office said.
The three men have been charged with a total of 32 felonies for operating a fraudulent securities scheme, grand theft, and investment fraud. The office also announced that the California Department of Justice secured orders freezing the suspects’ assets, including bank accounts, cryptocurrency, and real property.
‘Unfortunately, these kinds of scams aren’t new. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. We all have to be vigilant and keep an eye out for bad actors,’ Becerra concluded.
Marina Burghard writes for Canadian Fraud News about fraud-related cases, whistleblower, jurisdiction, identity theft, consumer protection, etc. – essentially about scams and how to protect yourself against this kind of fraudulent criminal behavior. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science where her interest in criminology grew. Besides fraud, Marina’s scientific interest lies in terrorism, extremism and how to deal with it as a society.