Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Orchestrating Business Opportunity Advance Fee Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 28, 2013|
BOSTON—A Florida man was convicted today in connection with a scheme to defraud over 125 victims out of more than $380,000 in a business opportunity advance fee scheme.
Lawrence Amirto, 59, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William G. Young to conspiracy and mail fraud.
Between June 2010 and December 2010, Amirto conspired with co-defendants Jamon Caswell and William Totaro to defraud victims in a business opportunity advance fee scheme involving an entity called Premier Service Group Inc. (PSG). Amirto, Caswell, and Totaro falsely claimed that PSG provided credit repair services to consumers. They also advertised in publications throughout the United States the sale of independent businesses whereby independent affiliates would purchase geographic territories and would receive leads from PSG for potential credit repair clients within those territories. The affiliates were to contact these leads, describe the services that PSG would provide, sign them up as clients of PSG, and earn commissions. Affiliates were told that representatives at PSG’s home office in Burlington, Massachusetts, provided the actual credit repair services, although PSG never provided any such service. Instead, many of the newly recruited affiliates were immediately given the opportunity to recruit additional affiliates. The new affiliates were thereby diverted from learning that there was no actual credit repair business while soliciting still more affiliates. The funds collected from new affiliates were used for making payments to other affiliates, for expenses associated with the scheme, or for the personal expenses of Amirto, Caswell, and Totaro.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 1, 2013. The maximum sentence under the statute is 20 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
In October 2012, Caswell pleaded guilty. Totaro is scheduled to plead guilty on January 30, 2013.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Kevin Niland, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina E. Barclay of Ortiz’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.