Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Repeat Fraudster Sentenced to Prison, Ordered to Pay More Than $2.6 Million for Scamming Morgan Stanley, Hotel Development Companies in Separate Frauds

A Teaneck, New Jersey man was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for two separate fraud schemes—swindling Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC and two individuals out of more than $200,000 while he was free on bail for the separate $2.25 million fraud, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul J. Fishman announced.

Moshe Butler, 33, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with committing bank fraud while he was on pre-trial release after pleading guilty to an information charging him with wire fraud. Butler entered his guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark, N.J., federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Butler admitted that in summer 2011 he defrauded Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (MSSB) out of approximately $37,417. In July 2011, Butler opened an investment account with Morgan Stanley in New York and was the sole signatory. The account allowed him to have immediate access to funds deposited by check. On August 12, 2011, Butler funded his MSSB account by depositing a $50,000 check and used the entire amount to cover the purchases of various securities and commodities option contracts. The purchases were largely unsuccessful and within five days, Butler lost his entire $50,000 investment as well as an additional $18,921.

On August 19, 2011, Butler deposited a $100,000 check into his MSSB account to cover the negative balance in the account. The $100,000 check Butler deposited was drawn against a bank account that Butler solely controlled, but which had been closed by the issuing bank more than two months earlier because Butler had written checks returned for insufficient funds. Butler took advantage of the fact that the funds were immediately available by withdrawing $7,000 in cash and purchasing numerous securities and commodities option contracts in his account. Those purchases were also unsuccessful and resulted in additional losses of $11,496. In October 2011, Butler deposited a $30,000 check to cover the losses in his MSSB account, but that check was also returned for insufficient funds.

Butler also admitted that, between November 2011 and March 2012, he fraudulently obtained $170,755 in money and legal services from two individuals, D.B. and C.W., and wrote them a series of bad checks.

Butler committed these acts while on pretrial release in connection with a scheme he committed between approximately 2008 and June 2009, defrauding multiple hotel and motel development companies out of more than $2.25 million. At the start of the scheme, Butler worked at a New Jersey-based company that sold mirrors and artwork to hotel and motel development companies. In this position, Butler was in regular contact with the purchasing agents at various development companies and was familiar with their purchasing procedures. Butler contacted many of these purchasing agents claiming to be working for one of two shell companies he controlled—SB Purchasing Group LLC and NI Group—and offering to sell flat panel televisions at a low cost with extended warranties, saying that his companies had been in business for years and had delivered thousands of televisions. At times, Butler claimed to be “John Savoy” and would often follow up with a call from his real persona, suggesting the customer buy from Savoy.

More often than not, customers received only a portion or none of the televisions they purchased. And when they requested a refund of the money they had paid him, Butler often sent the customers checks that were returned for insufficient funds.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Walls sentenced Butler to serve three years of supervised release and to pay restitution of $2,259,311.35 in the TV scheme and $207,375.25 in the check scheme. He was also ordered to forfeit an additional $208,172.21.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew E. Beck, deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.

This law enforcement action is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF). President Obama established the interagency FFETF to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit

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