11 November – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Enrique Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, announced today that four defendants, David Ross, Alex Moncayo, and Scott Smith, were sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra, in connection with their participation in fraudulent business opportunity sales at a firm called AmeriP.O.S. Ross was sentenced to 72 months’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $3,287,024.90 in restitution. Moncayo was sentenced to 63 months’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $3,279,155.90 in restitution. Smith was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1,552,721.33 in restitution. A new sentencing date will be set for defendant Jerome Cohen.
Other individuals also charged for their involvement in AmeriP.O.S., defendants Harris Cohen and Michael Borzillo, entered guilty pleas today in Ft. Lauderdale federal court to charges relating to the fraudulent scheme. Cohen pled guilty to one (1) count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one (1) count of criminal contempt. Borzillo pled guilty to six (6) counts of mail fraud.
According to charging documents, Cohen, Borzillo and the other defendants engaged in the fraudulent sale of business opportunities through AmeriP.O.S. Inc. AmeriP.O.S. engaged in the sale of point-of-sale (“P.O.S.”) terminal business opportunities. For a minimum purchase price of approximately $12,000, potential purchasers were told they would receive several P.O.S. terminals, and assistance in establishing, maintaining, and operating a P.O.S. terminal business. The defendants falsely claimed that a business opportunity purchaser, known as a “distributor,” would earn substantial profits when members of the public purchased products, such as pre-paid debit cards, pre-paid phone cards, and pre-paid Internet services, from the distributor’s P.O.S. terminals. Cohen was a leader and organizer of AmeriP.O.S. Borzillo was an AmeriP.O.S. reference, who fraudulently represented himself to potential purchasers as a successful AmeriP.O.S. distributor.
The criminal contempt charge against Cohen was based on the defendant’s violation of an Order entered by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in June 2000, in a consumer fraud civil case filed by the Federal Trade Commission. The order required him to post a performance bond, which he did not do, before selling business opportunities.
In related news, defendant Leland Balber, a business opportunity salesman, was also sentenced today in connection with a similar business opportunity firm called Cash Link Systems Inc. Judge Marra sentenced Balber to 42 months’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $10,794,331.18 in restitution.
Cash Link, a Florida corporation incorporated in or around July 2003, engaged in the sale of business opportunities involving cash-less Automatic Teller Machines (“ATMs”). For a minimum purchase price of approximately $11,000, potential purchasers were told they would receive several cash-less ATM terminals, along with assistance in establishing, maintaining, and operating a cash-less ATM terminal business. According to Cash Link, its business opportunity purchaser would earn substantial profits from commissions generated whenever members of the public used the distributor’s cash-less ATM terminals.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Postal Inspection Service. These cases are being prosecuted by Richard Goldberg and Jill Furman, Trial Attorneys, United States Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Litigation, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Gurwitz.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.