U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York
(716) 843-5700
August 13, 2015

Hamburg Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Tax Evasion in Connection with Investment Fraud Scheme

BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Christopher F. Venti, 46, of Hamburg, N.Y., pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The tax evasion charge carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant pled guilty to devising and executing schemes to defraud and to obtain money from individuals by misrepresenting the existence and success of investment opportunities in order to convince these victims to transfer funds to him or to bank accounts he controlled. The defendant admitted engaging in three separate investment schemes between May 2011 and February 2014 as a result of which investors were defrauded of approximately $7.7 million. The defendant, without the authorization of the investors, utilized a portion of these investor funds for personal use.

The defendant also admitted that between 2006 and 2012, he filed Individual Income Tax Returns with the Internal Revenue Service on which he willfully evaded the payment of approximately $216,000 in taxes due and owing on the income reported on such returns.

The plea is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Brian P. Boetig, and by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle Kitchen.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 9, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Wolford.

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