Connecticut Man Admits Running Investment Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 18, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting 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 Jonathan Gracia, 24, formerly of Middletown, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford to one count of wire fraud stemming from an investment fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Gracia falsely told friends and acquaintances that he was developing a website for which he had potential buyers and that he had developed an app for the iPhone and then solicited investments and loans from his victims in connection with both of these purported ventures. Gracia regularly told the victims that they would receive outsized returns on their investments. As part of the scheme, Gracia created bogus documents to deceive his victims, including fake checks, bogus bank account statements, and a letter that he created on what appeared to be the letterhead of a prominent Connecticut hedge fund management company. Through this scheme, Gracia defrauded his victims of at least $200,000.
Gracia is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on September 10, 2013, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Gracia has been detained since his arrest on March 18, 2013.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Branford and Stamford Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul A. Murphy.
In December 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and several law enforcement and regulatory partners announced the formation of the Connecticut Securities, Commodities and Investor Fraud Task Force, which is investigating matters relating to insider trading, market manipulation, Ponzi schemes, investor fraud, financial statement fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and embezzlement. The task force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section and Antitrust Division; U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Office of the Chief State’s Attorney; State of Connecticut Department of Banking; Greenwich Police Department; and Stamford Police Department.
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.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.