Branford Resident Admits Running Ponzi Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 27, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Feisal Sharif, 43, of Branford, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to fraud offenses stemming from his operation of a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of approximately $3.6 million.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2003 to September 2012, Sharif ran an investment fraud scheme through First Financial LLC, a firm he operated out of his Branford residence. As part of the scheme, Sharif convinced numerous individuals to give him money to invest in what they believed was a commodity pool to profit from trading in commodity futures. In an effort to make investors believe that their money was safely invested and earning a sizeable return, Sharif regularly would make monthly payments to investors, falsely claiming they represented returns on their investments. He also supplied investors with monthly statements from First Financial that falsely reported the purported balances of their investments and their rate of return on the investments.
In reality, Sharif was simply paying existing investors with new money he raised from other investors. Very little of the investment money he raised was used to trade in commodity futures, and what he did invest in commodity futures did not generate returns anywhere near those he reported to investors.
Through this scheme, Sharif defrauded more than 50 investors of approximately $3.6 million. Many of these victims were relatives, friends, and people he knew through their common connection with a religious institution.
Sharif pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by a commodity pool operator, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. Judge Underhill has scheduled sentencing for November 19, 2013.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Acting U.S. Attorney Daly also acknowledged the assistance of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the State of Connecticut Department of Banking. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy.
Citizens are encouraged to report any financial fraud schemes by calling, toll-free, 855-236-9740 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.