Florida Man Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 74 Months in Prison for Engaging in a Fraudulent Investment Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 22, 2013|
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CLIFFE R. BODDEN was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 74 months in prison for participating in an investment scheme that defrauded foreign investors out of nearly $1 million. As part of the scheme, investors were lured with false promises that their funds would be safely invested in the U.S. financial markets through a legitimate broker-dealer. Instead, the money was misappropriated, used to pay certain expenses, and transferred to, among other places, entities related to BODDEN. He pled guilty in September 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.
Manhattan United States Attorney Preet Bharara said: “With today’s sentence, Cliffe Bodden now knows there is a price to be paid for lying to investors, no matter where the victims live. Our ongoing efforts to prosecute the perpetrators of investment fraud are not limited by geographic boundaries.”
According to the court filings and statements made in court:
BODDEN held himself out as a managing director of Lempert Capital Management, Ltd., a corporation purportedly incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Starting in approximately 2005, foreign investors were lured into sending nearly $1 million to Lempert Capital’s purported management company, Lempert Brothers, under the pretense that those funds would be invested in the U.S. financial markets by Lempert Brothers, which was a registered broker-dealer. To induce investors into wiring funds, among other false promises, investors were told that the funds would be safeguarded, and that if the value of the funds dropped more than 20 percent, the money would be frozen and all remaining funds available for return to investors. In fact, the nearly $1 million of investor funds were misappropriated and diverted to, among other things, entities affiliated with BODDEN.
To keep the scheme going, BODDEN sent fraudulent monthly account statements to the investors. These statements falsely reflected that the investors’ funds were invested and earning substantial income. When investors attempted to withdraw funds from their accounts, BODDEN made additional false and fraudulent representations as to why the funds could not be returned when requested. For example, BODDEN falsely told investors that their money was illiquid because it had been invested in various companies that had not yet gone public.
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In addition to the prison sentence of 37 months on each count to run consecutive for a total term of imprisonment of 74 months, Judge Forrest sentenced BODDEN, 49, of Tampa, Florida, to two years of supervised release to run consecutively and ordered him to pay a fine of $25,000 and a special assessment of $200. Judge Forrest ordered restitution and forfeiture in the amount of $946,509, which represents the amount of the crime proceeds.
The charges against BODDEN’s co-defendant, S. George Milter, 34, of New York, New York, are pending. These charges and the allegations against Milter are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Carrie H. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.