Individual Sentenced to 72 Months in Prison for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering
SAN JUAN, PR—On May 13, 2015, defendant Miguel A. Merced-Torres was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 72 months (six years), followed by three years of Supervised Release Term by U.S. District Court Judge Jay A. García-Gregory, announced United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.
On April 24, 2014, a federal grand jury returned an 18-count indictment charging the defendant for the use of interstate wired communications to commit fraud and money laundering. Miguel A. Merced-Torres plead guilty on September 2, 2014. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service.
Merced-Torres was the incorporator and resident agent of MM Technology Wireless Group, a corporation registered with the Puerto Rico State Department since June 9, 2009. From on or about July, 2006, to on or about February, 2013, the defendant devised a scheme and artifice to defraud other persons, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
Through the scheme Merced-Torres obtained money from investors by falsely representing himself as a representative of the Federal Communications Commission, hereinafter “FCC.” Merced-Torres falsely promised said investors that they were going to receive financial benefits and profits from their investments in cellular tower administration contracts. The defendant would convince victims to invest money by falsely representing that the FCC was actively seeking individuals to invest money in exchange for the FCC’s issuance of cellular tower administration contracts, which would render considerable profit for the investors.
Merced-Torres requested and received bank wire transfers totaling the sum of approximately $15,000,000 from all the victims.
Miguel Merced-Torres is facing a money judgment of $9,089,777.37. During a two day hearing the victims addressed the Court on the monetary losses they suffered and how it affected their lives. The Court reserved judgment and will impose restitution on a later date. Merced-Torres is also facing a forfeiture allegation of: a land lot located at Turabo Ward in the municipality of Caguas; a residential apartment located at Islabella Condominium in Caguas; a land lot located at Tomas de Castro Ward in Caguas; an apartment at Villas del Mar Condominium in the municipality of Cabo Rojo; a land lot located at La Serranía Urbanization in Caguas; a lot located in Turabo Gardens Urbanization in Caguas; a land lot located at Tejas Ward in the municipality of Las Piedras; a land lot located in San Lorenzo Valley Urbanization in the municipality of San Lorenzo; and a house located on Calle Rufo Ramirez, Barrio Celada, in the municipality of Gurabo.
“This individual defrauded investors who trusted him with their savings and he stole money from them for personal gain. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute financial crimes and protect the citizens of Puerto Rico,” said United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “Although this sentence can’t by itself undo the damage suffered by the many victims of this fraudulent scheme, justice was done.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Olga Castellón.