Genesee Township Tax Preparer and Others Indicted for Ponzi Scheme, Tax Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 27, 2012|
FLINT, MI—Ronald Lee Brito and Bonnie Brito of California, John James Missitti of Genesee Township, Thomas Winston Moore of California, and Mark J. Carpenter of Ann Arbor have been indicted for conspiring to commit wire fraud in operating an investment Ponzi scheme, United States Attorney Barbara McQuade announced today. Missitti is also charged with having filed false income tax returns.
United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade was joined in this announcement by Robert D. Foley, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
In the 68-count superseding indictment returned by a grand jury in Flint yesterday, all five defendants are charged with conspiring to solicit investments in GetMoni.com, which was started by the Britos in California. The indictment alleges that Missitti joined the conspiracy by soliciting investors in Michigan in exchange for commissions from Ron Brito, knowing that the majority of the money invested would be used to pay earlier investors in the scheme. Wire transfers of money to GetMoni.com are alleged in 43 counts against Ron Brito and John Missitti.
The indictment alleges that since 2007, the conspirators solicited investments for the ostensible purpose of extracting silver or gold from the “PJM Kingman Mine,” using a prospectus which falsely represented the likely success of such a venture. Carpenter, doing business as TGBG Financial Planning, allegedly joined the conspiracy by making false representations about the Mine and soliciting investments in exchange for commissions from Ron Brito. Wire transfers from TGBG to GetMoni.com are alleged in 20 counts against Carpenter.
The indictment further alleges that John Missitti, who operated Missitti Tax Services for several years, falsified his own individual income tax returns for the years 2006-2009 by deliberately understating his total income during those years in the total amount of about $793,337.25.
Ron Brito and Thomas Moore were arrested in California and are currently being held pending trial. Bonnie Brito and Mark Carpenter have been released on bond. John Missitti is expected to report voluntarily for arraignment during the next few weeks.
The defendants face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a $250,000 fine on each of the wire fraud charges and the conspiracy charge. Missitti could be sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on each of the four false tax return charges against him.
“Investment fraud schemes are nothing more than a fancy way to steal people’s money, McQuade said. “They are a form of robbery and they should be treated that way.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley stated, “Those individuals who engage in illegal investment schemes will face severe penalties for their criminal activity. The FBI is committed to vigorously pursuing anyone who commits these crimes.”
Erick Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation, stated, “It is alleged that these five conspirators stole money from unsuspecting investors and used it for their own purposes in the operation of Ponzi scheme. The IRS will thoroughly investigate these scams because not only are they ripping off investors, but they are also harming American taxpayers.”
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Flint offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation section of the Internal Revenue Service.