New York Man Arrested for Allegedly Defrauding Investors of More Than $2 Million for CrossFit Business Ventures
NEWARK, NJ—New York man involved in several CrossFit training businesses was arrested this morning by the FBI in connection with a scheme to defraud various potential investors, lenders and business partners out of over $2 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Joshua Bryce Newman, 35, is charged by criminal complaint with two counts of wire fraud. Newman is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
Newman was a self-styled entrepreneur who engaged in a variety of business ventures, including venture capital work, a film production company and businesses that offer CrossFit training, a popular strength and conditioning program typically run in facilities known as “boxes.” Newman found himself facing mounting legal and financial troubles largely as a result of judgments and liens filed against him and his film production company, Cyan Pictures, after its project about the New York Yankees failed. For example, a civil lawsuit filed against Newman alleges that he and others lied about the amount of money they raised for the project and that they had diverted funds meant for the film into their personal accounts.
The criminal complaint alleges that from 2012 through April 2015, Newman made material misrepresentations to solicit investments for CrossFit business enterprises and used the funds for personal expenses, including paying back others who invested in his prior projects. Using doctored or bogus documentation, Newman lulled his victims into believing that their investment money was safe or that he was in a position to repay their loans. The false documents included doctored operating agreements, false statements of ownership percentages held by various individuals and bogus Schedule K-1s purporting to show the amount of annual partnership gains or losses reported to the IRS. Newman also deceived his potential partners, purported investors and lenders into believing that one of his CrossFit ventures had raised millions of dollars in funding.
When investors and lenders raised concerns about Newman’s sincerity or threatened legal action to recoup their funds, he typically gave them false assurances or agreed to return the funds. In reality, he often had no funds to return and made various excuses, including blaming his lack of payment on wire transfers delays. He also stalled for time by giving his victims checks drawn on accounts with insufficient funds and even sent a picture of a purported wire transfer order for $165,000 that never existed.
The complaint alleges that even after his partners removed him from one of the CrossFit companies because of suspected fraudulent activity and willful misconduct, Newman continued to solicit investments on behalf of the company that he used for personal expenses.
The investigation to date has revealed that Newman defrauded numerous investors, creditors and potential partners out of more than $2 million.
Newman faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison on each count, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense and a mandatory restitution order in the full amount of the loss to the victims.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The charges in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.