August 21, 2014

Bergen County Man and Disbarred New York Attorney Indicted in Real Estate Investment Fraud Scheme

NEWARK, NJ—Two men were indicted by a federal grand jury today for allegedly using a real estate investment scheme to defraud 15 victims of more than $3 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Paul Mancuso, 46, of Glen Rock, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. Pasquale Stiso, 52, of West Harrison, New York, is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case:

Since 2009, Mancuso posed as a real estate investor, broker and developer, as well as a “hard money” lender for other investments. Stiso, a disbarred attorney, held himself out as an individual working with Mancuso on various investment projects.

Mancuso and Stiso fraudulently obtained financing for projects that did not exist or in which they had no actual involvement. Some of the purported projects touted by Mancuso, Stiso, and other conspirators included investments in a phony ticket scam, the development of a pizzeria at a resort in the Bahamas, the development of a casino in Atlantic City, the development of a commercial shopping center, and the “flipping” of a piece of real estate in Matawan.

Victims lost all of their investments or life savings in Mancuso’s schemes. Instead of funding the purported projects, Mancuso and Stiso used the money for personal expenses and financing their involvement in illegal gambling pursuits.

The charge of wire fraud conspiracy and each substantive count of wire fraud carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss associated with the offense, whichever is greater. The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture of $3,425,750, representing the fraudulent payments Mancuso and Stiso received from the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larson for the investigation leading to today’s indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa M. Colone and Francisco J. Navarro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defense counsel:

Mancuso: Mary Frances Palisano Esq., Newark Stiso: Henry E. Klingeman Esq., Newark