Founder of Commodities Firm Pled Guilty to Participating in $4 Million Fraud Scheme
A Palm Beach County businessman pled guilty for participating in a four million dollar commodities fraud scheme.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Ronald J. Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, and Drew Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), made the announcement.
Jeffrey Schuler, 54 of Boynton Beach, Florida pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. Sentencing for the defendant is scheduled for August 25, 2015, at 1:15 p.m., before U.S. District Judge William A. Dimitrouleas. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
According to court records, including the factual proffer, in or around early 2010, Schuler co-founded Liberty International Financial Services (“Liberty”) in Fort Lauderdale with Christopher Anzalone, who was charged separately in Case No. 14-20737-CR-FAM. Liberty employed brokers that solicited investors throughout the United States to make purchases of precious metals, such as gold, silver, or palladium. Liberty brokers represented to investors that investors’ monies would be used for the purchase of precious metals in silver, gold, and palladium. Based on representations made by brokers, prospective investors provided funds to Liberty for precious metals investments.
The court records further indicate that the defendant had responsibility at Liberty for executing precious metal trades. The defendant falsely and fraudulently represented to Liberty brokers that he was actually making precious metals trades for investors. In reality, from September 2010 to December 2011, the defendant executed almost no trades of precious metals. During this period, Liberty received approximately $4 million from investors and spent less than $200,000 in precious metals related trades. Instead, the money was used to pay old investors, to pay the defendant a substantial income, and to pay other Liberty brokers and personnel.
Anzalone previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison on March 27, 2015.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, USPIS, and OFR. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.