Manalapan, NJ man hauled in $1-million in Covid-19 investment fraud scheme
A Manalapan man is looking at decades in prison after being arrested and charged for running a Covid-19 related financial scheme that defrauded people out of a combined $1,000,000.00.
The details of the Monmouth County man's Covid-19 related fraud scheme was laid out by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
The rouse orchestrated by 48-year-old Anthony Mastroianni Jr., of Manalapan, actually pre-dates the pandemic but he set loose his plan during some of the most difficult financial times in recent memory.
His story begins in 2016, when Attorney Sellinger said that Mastroianni Jr. agreed to being barred forever by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) which meant he could no longer act as a broker or intermediary in securities transactions.
While he consented, he had no intentions of abiding by the ruling.
Attorney Sellinger said that between January of 2017 and August of 2022 Mastroianni Jr. "defrauded victim investors, many of whom were senior citizens, by falsely and fraudulently claiming that he would generate large investment profits for them through his company, Global Business Development & Consulting Corp."
Mastroianni then doubled down on his scheme by using the funds he collected from the victims and used it on personal expenses like house rent, car payments, credit card bills, and cash withdrawals instead of investing the money he promised the people he stole from over the course of the rouse.
In all, Attorney Sellinger said that Mastroianni Jr. "defrauded 10 victims out of $1-million," and, "also exploited the ongoing global pandemic by submitting a false and fraudulent application to obtain $96,300 from a federal COVID-19 emergency relief loan meant for distressed small businesses. As with his investment fraud scheme, Mastroianni misused the loan proceeds to make personal purchases and cash withdrawals."
Mastroianni was eventually charged with defrauding the victims for the investment fraud scheme and with fraudulently obtaining a loan of approximately $96,000 meant to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Attorney Sellinger said.
For the scheme, he was charged in a five-count complaint with wire and mail fraud and made his initial court appearance on Wednesday in Newark federal court.
Attorney Sellinger said that, "each count of mail and wire fraud carries a maximum potential punishment of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross loss or gain caused by the offense."
In this case, Attorney Sellinger said that the government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Silane of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark and Mastroianni's defense counsel is Emily Sherman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark.