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Scam artist sentenced to 115 months on fraud charges

Posted on April 15, 2010 12:00 AM EST

A defendant charged with mail fraud and wire fraud for running an investment scam out of Costa Rica was sentenced to 115 months in federal prison. Dilraj Mathauda was indicted on charges alleging that he operated fraudulent business ventures that would seek out unsuspecting investors. The defendant had previously entered a guilty plea back on January 13, 2010 before a U.S. District Court judge following his arrest in 2009. Court documents indicate that Mathauda was the ringleader of an operation that sold beverage and greeting card opportunities that never came to fruition. The Defendant was represented at his sentencing hearing by a Miami criminal defense lawyer.

Mathauda solicited citizens in the United States to invest in business entities called USA Beverages and Omega Business Systems, Inc. USA Beverages sold stakes in coffee beverage display racks, while Omega sold stakes in greeting card display racks. Both businesses maintained office space in the United States to make it appear legitimate to U.S. investors. In reality, the scheme to defraud was based in and operated out of Costa Rica. The defendant and his co-conspirators made false and fraudulent statements to potential investors such as the length of time the companies were in business, the numbers investors involved with the companies, and the promise of lucrative profits.

As with "Ponzi" schemes, the crime of fraudulently inducing investors to become involved in business opportunities is being taken seriously by federal law enforcement and government prosecutors. Frauds like the one committed by Mathauda are investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. The head of the postal service told reporters that the sentence was appropriate in this particular case and promised to investigate and prosecute criminals who defraud American consumers. He warned consumers that these types of scams have become increasingly popular and that serious inquiries must be made by investors prior to becoming involved in these types of ventures.

The judge presiding over the sentencing hearing scheduled a restitution hearing in federal court in 90 days. Undoubtedly, the defendant will be required to repay the investors for their monetary losses. Despite the court order, the investors are highly unlikely to receive any of their money back. The restitution hearing is likely to be protracted due to large amount of losses and number of victims involved in the scheme to defraud. As the lengthy prison sentence indicates, any one charged with defrauding investors faces serious consequences. Anyone being investigated or prosecuted for this type of offense should seek legal representation from a criminal defense law firm experienced in defending charges stemming from fraudulent business practices.

Costa Rica-Based Business Operator Fraud Operator Sentenced to 115 Months in Prison by Miami Judge, PR Newswire.com, April 14, 2010.
Categories: Fraud