Richboro Man Indicted on Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Passing Counterfeit and Forged Checks
Bogdan K. Stepien, 34, of Richboro, PA, was charged today by Indictment with nineteen counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, and four counts of passing counterfeit and forged checks, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. It is alleged that between 2011 and 2014, Stepien engaged in a Ponzi scheme in which he claimed to be a successful “day trader” and recruited friends and family members to “invest” with him. The indictment alleges that Stepien received funds from each of eight individuals and that, instead of engaging in high frequency trading with those funds, he used them to pay for his own personal expenses. The indictment further alleges that, to lull his victims into believing that he was successfully investing their funds, Stepien sent them bogus trading account statements and spreadsheets that purported to show their growing investment returns, and he used some of the investor funds to pay what he characterized as distributions or profits to some of his investors, when in fact the funds were not profits but were merely some of the investors’ principal. In connection with this scheme, the indictment alleges that Stepien used the name, address, and forged signature of one of his victims in performing several wire transfers of the victim’s funds to an account in Stepien’s name and for Stepien’s benefit.
The indictment further alleges that on four separate occasions between August 2014 and April 2015, Stepien passed counterfeit and forged checks in order to purchase luxury automobiles and real estate. Stepien is charged with using two checks, each for over $100,000, to purchase new, custom-ordered Mercedes-Benz automobiles. He is charged with using one check for more than $70,000 to purchase a new GMC Yukon Denali automobile. He is also charged with using a bogus check for more than $400,000 to purchase real estate. Most of these checks were altered so that they appeared to be official checks, and none of the checks were legitimate.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years of imprisonment for each count of wire fraud, ten years of imprisonment for each count of passing counterfeit and forged checks, a mandatory minimum two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, three years of supervised release, a $6.5 million fine, a $2,600 special assessment, and full restitution.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy E. Potts.