Fugitive Arrested in Multi-Million-Dollar Investment Fraud Scheme
BOSTON—A Brazilian national charged with defrauding investors in Massachusetts and elsewhere of more than $12 million was arrested yesterday in Boca Raton, Florida, after evading arrest for more than two weeks.
Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho, 58, of Orlando, Fla., was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of wire fraud on June 30, 2015. Filho, who did business in Massachusetts and Florida, was arrested coming out of a restaurant in Boca Raton. He had his initial appearance today in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, and is scheduled to appear again for a bail hearing on July 24.
As alleged in court documents, Filho owns a company called DFRF Enterprises, LLC, which is incorporated in Massachusetts and Florida. Beginning in 2014, Filho and others acting at his direction allegedly began offering people the chance to invest in, and therefore become “members” of DFRF. In solicitations posted in Internet videos, as well as pitches made in person, including a meeting aboard a boat in Boston Harbor, Filho is alleged to have falsely told potential investors that DFRF was engaged in a lucrative, international gold-mining business. Additionally, it is alleged that he misrepresented DFRF’s ties to a consulting company in Brazil and a private bank in Switzerland. It is further alleged that he told potential investors that their principal investments would be 100% insured against losses by a company based in the United Kingdom and Barbados—all of which was untrue.
As further alleged, relying on Filho’s alleged misrepresentations, investors gave Filho and DFRF more than $12 million. Instead of investing the money as promised, however, Filho allegedly took more than $3.5 million himself, spending it on travel, restaurants, and consumer goods—including approximately $2 million spent on multiple Lamborghinis, a Rolls Royce, a Mercedes, and multiple Cadillacs.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the fraud, whichever is greater. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The United States Attorney’s Office received valuable assistance from the Securities & Exchange Commission, which recently filed a separate civil action against Filho in federal court. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida also assisted in the investigation.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric P. Christofferson of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.