Two of three men who allegedly defrauded an individual in a funds leasing scheme have been arrested on an indictment charging them with conspiracy and wire fraud. Thomas Bannon, the president of Overseas Investors LLC (“Overseas”); Robert Bardey, Esq., an attorney; and Theodore Sweeten, the president of Symtech International Inc. (“Symtech”), are charged in an 11-count indictment in federal court in Brooklyn. Bardey was arrested and arraigned on July 30, 2012. Sweeten was arrested on Friday, August 10, 2012, and his initial appearance is scheduled this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe at the Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse at 901 19th Street in Denver, Colorado. Bannon is a fugitive. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York.
The indictment was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for
the Eastern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in
Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
As alleged in the indictment, Bannon, Bardey, and Sweeten lied to potential
investors about their expertise in special investment programs and access to
hedge funds that were supposedly willing to lease millions of dollars in
exchange for a fee. Specifically, the defendants defrauded an investor by
inducing him to invest $5 million to lease or obtain a credit line of $100
million, which in turn would enable him to generate millions of dollars in
profit through these special investment programs. The defendants convinced the
investor to make the investment through false assurances that the investor’s
funds would be held in an attorney escrow account pending confirmation of the
posting of $100 million in the leased-funds account. Contrary to their
representations, however, the defendants simply distributed the investor’s $5
million among themselves and their co-conspirators shortly after it was
deposited into Bardey’s purported escrow account. Bannon eventually provided the
purported confirmation that a $100 million account had been created at HSBC by
sending the investor fabricated bank documents, including a fake proof of funds
letter on HSBC letterhead.
Bardey is also charged with one count of perjury for allegedly giving false
testimony to a federal grand jury regarding his release of the supposedly
“As set forth in the indictment, the defendants claimed expertise in
sophisticated financial instruments used in business to support investment.
Their only expertise, however, was in lying, and their only special skill was in
creating false documents. As alleged, the defendants victimized an individual
who was looking for a legitimate investment opportunity through their false
representations and phony bank documents. Bardey then compounded his offense by
allegedly perjuring himself in his testimony before the grand jury,” stated
United States Attorney Lynch. “Those who seek to defraud investors are on notice
that we will use all available resources to bring them to justice.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated, “The three defendants
allegedly swindled a potential investor out of $5 million for their own monetary
gain without making any actual investments. The scheme was taken even further by
the defendants making bogus bank documents to hide their lack of investment
trail. These arrests made by FBI agents demonstrate our continued effort to
bring to justice individuals who seek to profit from fraud.”
If convicted, the maximum term of imprisonment for each count of wire fraud
is 20 years, and the maximum term of imprisonment for perjury is five years.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney
Winston M. Paes.
The charges announced today are merely allegations, and the defendants are
presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s
Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November
2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and
prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S.
attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition
of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to
combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in
facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes;
enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local
authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and
conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other
organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has
filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants
including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the
task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
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