October 24, 2014
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Florida Federal Court Orders $137 Million Forfeiture for Investment Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
The US District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently ordered one participant in a sophisticated investment fraud and money laundering scheme to forfeit $137 million in assets including cash, real property, aircraft and vessels.
From approximately 2004 through 2008, United Kingdom citizen Simon Andrew Odoni and others stole the identities of dormant, publicly traded companies to create fraudulent shell entities that appeared legitimate but were, in fact, worthless. Then, relying on high-pressure misleading tactics, they induced victims to invest over $127 million, which was wired to bank accounts in Florida. Odoni and his confederates reaped another $10 million through a separate currency trading scheme.
A related case led to the May 2012 conviction of Roger Lee Shoss and Nicollette Loisel, two Texas lawyers who helped to hijack the dormant companies’ identities. The co-conspirators then issued worthless stock in the dormant companies that appeared to be publicly traded.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Spain collaborated on the investigation. Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, Tampa, urged investors to “beware of similar scams – they know no borders.”
United States v. Odoni, Case No. 08-cr-172-T-35EAJ (M.D. Fla. July 11, 2013).