Former Professional Football Player Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million-Dollar Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 20, 2009|
LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), PATRICIA J. HAYNES, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Inspection Division ("IRS-CID"), and RONALD J. VERROCHIO, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Postal Inspection Service ("USPIS"), announced that CLYDE "PETER" HALL, 70, of Manhattan, pleaded guilty this morning to charges arising out of a scheme in which HALL peddled bogus bank instruments and claimed to have access to high yield investment programs in order to defraud investors of millions of dollars. On what was scheduled to be the first day of his trial, HALL pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court before United States District Judge RICHARD J. SULLIVAN to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and five counts of substantive wire fraud.
According to the Indictment to which HALL pleaded guilty, documents filed in connection with this case, and statements made in court:
HALL, who decades ago played football for the New York Giants, held himself out as the "representative" or "attorney in fact" of two purported business trusts -- Gramercy International Investment Trust and American Swiss Trust. HALL told his victims that in exchange for up front or advance fees he could obtain for them letters of credit, bank guarantees, or other bank instruments worth hundreds of millions of dollars which could be used as collateral for loans or to fund trading in high yield investment programs that would generate phenomenal returns. Among HALL's claims to victims were that he had successfully done so for other clients for over a decade; that advance fees would be held in escrow and were completely refundable if the promised bank instruments were not delivered; and that he would be paid from money purportedly generated by loans or investments made using the bank instruments as collateral, rather than from the advance fees.
However, after victims had wire transferred their purportedly refundable advance fees to various accounts controlled by HALL, HALL would either fail to provide the promised bank instruments, or provided bogus documents that he received from co-conspirators and that were worthless as collateral. HALL lulled his victims by, among other things, repeatedly telling them the promised bank instruments would be delivered imminently, or that they had been delivered. (A search of HALL's apartment conducted at the time of his arrest turned up dozens of fake bank letters of credit or bank guarantees on paper bearing the logos of well-known international banks, including UBS AG, ABN-AMRO, Citibank, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.) When victims complained that they could not access the bank instruments that had supposedly been delivered, HALL and at least one of his coconspirators would engage in an elaborate charade to "help" the victim investors "find" the bank instruments. HALL in fact used the advance fees to pay personal and family expenses, and for the benefit of his co-conspirators.
On the conspiracy to commit wire fraud count to which HALL pleaded guilty, he faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense. On each of the five counts of wire fraud to which HALL pleaded guilty, he faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense. The total maximum term of imprisonment is therefore 120 years.
Judge SULLIVAN remanded HALL to prison following his guilty plea, and scheduled sentencing for August 7, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
Mr. DASSIN thanked the FBI, the IRS-CID, and USPIS for their assistance in this investigation.
This prosecution is being handled by the Major Crimes Unit of the United States Attorney's Office. Assistant United States Attorneys THOMAS G. A. BROWN and STEPHEN J. RITCHIN are in charge of the prosecution.