New Jersey Resident Charged with Defrauding Investors of More Than $350,000
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 30, 2010|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that PIERRE C. ARMAND, 76, of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with wire fraud. The charge stems from an alleged scheme to defraud several investors of more than $350,000.
ARMAND surrendered himself this morning to federal law enforcement, appeared this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven and was released on a $50,000 bond co-signed by a family member. ARMAND is citizen of Haiti and a permanent resident alien of the United States.
“It is alleged that, for approximately six years, this defendant victimized several investors by making promises that were too good to be true,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s office is committed to working with the FBI and other federal, state, and local partners to investigate investor fraud schemes, prosecute those responsible, and seek restitution for victims.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2003 to 2009, it is alleged that ARMAND engaged in a scheme to defraud by misrepresenting to investors that he would place, and later had placed, their funds in certain defined real estate projects, including an office building in Greenwich, a real estate development outside of Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., and a Southern Connecticut Building Portfolio, consisting of three buildings located in Fairfield County. As part of the scheme, ARMAND allegedly set up an office with a part-time secretary.
The complaint alleges that ARMAND did not invest many of the funds as represented and instead used the monies obtained from investors for personal expenses and to make
“lulling” payments derived from previously invested monies to certain investors. During the course of the scheme, it is alleged that ARMAND defrauded investors out of more than $350,000.
If convicted of the wire fraud, ARMAND faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that this prosecution falls under the umbrella of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which 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 on the task force, visit: www.StopFraud.gov.