New Charges for Admitted Lakewood Scam Artist
Eliyahu Weinstein of Lakewood has yet to be sentenced for a global investment-fraud scheme that he admitted last January, and he's once again in custody.
The 37-year-old and two others are accused of accumulating at least $6,700,000 from investors who thought they were getting an inside track on Facebook's initial public offering.
Members of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's office filed wire fraud charges against Weinstein along with Alex Schleider, 47, of Lakewood, and Aaron Muschel, 63, of Brooklyn. Weinstein and Muschel are also charged with transacting in criminal proceeds, and Weinstein alone is charged with wire fraud while on pretrial release.
The government also seeks the forfeiture of all related funds, including three pieces of real estate that they say were bought with the accrued money.
Prosecutors accuse Weinstein, Muschel and Schleider of setting up the con in Februrary 2012, about a month after he pleaded guilty to state charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. He risks up to 25 years in prison on those counts.
If convicted for committing wire fraud while on superivsed release, he could be given another 30 years. All three face possible prison terms of 20 years for conspiracy. Weinstein and Muschel's criminal proceeds count carries a possible 10 years on conviction.
According to investigators, they convinced an investor - listed as a co-conspirator and identified only as "G.C." - to wire millions to their accounts under the pretense of pre-IPO Facebook stock purchases. They are said to have produced bogus ownership documents for nonexistent companies, ostensibly with sufficient funds to secure the investment.
Instead, say investigators, they redirected the money through multiple accounts, using some to pay lawyers involved in his state proceedings, and some for other businesses - but none directed to Facebook.