Convicted Ponzi Schemer Admits Stock Fraud, Money Laundering
Eliyahu Weinstein of Lakewood, already sentenced to 22 years for a $200,000,000 real-estate scam, might have more prison time coming.
In a Trenton federal courtroom today Weinstein, 39, admitted bilking investors who believed they were getting insider pricing for Facebook's initial public offering and several more real-estate deals, and laundering the money, according to the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.
Weinstein pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, committing wire fraud during pretrial release, and money laundering. The conspiracy count carries a possible 20-year sentence. He could be given up to 30 years for wire fraud on pretrial release. Money laundering could garner another 10 years.
He is the last of three defendants to enter guilty pleas to the ancillary charges. Aaron Glucksman, 41, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to four years and four months in prison last May, running concurrently with a three-year term issued in New York on unrelated counts. He was ordered to forfeit $1,200,000.
Alex Schleider, 48, of Lakewood, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 18.
Prosecutors contended that none of the millions raked in for Facebook stock was spent on it, going instead to lawyers waiting for payment for the earlier real estate fraud case and to invest in other businesses and create loans.
In February and March 2012, Weinstein and his co-defendants convinced the Facebook investors to wire $2,830,000 to a Miami law firm to secure the purchase of the Belle Glade Gardens apartment complex in Florida, which they believed would be flipped for a profit, authorities said.
They directed the cash into accounts they controlled, repaid $1,800,000 to Facebook investors who believed it was a return on their stock purchases, and kept the rest for personal use.
The following July, Weinstein persuaded new investors to sink $1,500,000 into what was believed to be seven Florida condominium units, promising annual rental returns of $780,000. The money was transferred to Weinstein between August and December 2012, and was devoted to personal use, investigators said, adding that Weinstein had lost most of the condos to foreclosure prior to the scam.