6 October 2004 LAWFUEL – Law news, legal, criminal law, attorney, law firm news & legal researchIn the third criminal case stemming from the $45 million Ponzi scheme operated out of DFJ Italia, a New Jersey man was charged today with participating in the scheme that duped investors with promises of high-yield returns and stories of a royal Italian family.
Guy Scarpelli, 44, of Neptune, New Jersey, was named in a three-count criminal information that accuses him of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, structuring cash transactions to avoid reporting requirements and tax evasion. Scarpelli has agreed to plead guilty to the three felony counts.
From late 1996 until DFJ collapsed in March 2000, Scarpelli was a salesman who promised DFJ investors annual returns of 24 percent. Investors were told that DFJ was operated by a royal Italian family that had a treaty with the United States that gave the company and its “knighted” members political and diplomatic immunity. DFJ, a Newport Beach firm that claimed a 700-year legacy, supposedly had interests in hundreds of companies around the globe and controlled $60 billion that it used as collateral in “bridge gap” financing programs.
In fact, DFJ was a sham company that did not make promised investments and lulled investors with bogus statements showing incredible profits. The majority of money solicited from investors went to the head of DFJ, a man known as the CEO of the company and “the Don.” Scarpelli also collected huge commissions, averaging $60,000 to $70,000 per month in 1998.
Scarpelli maintained a bank account under the name “Scarpelli’s Furniture and Antiques,” which was used to pay “returns” on investments and Scarpelli’s commissions. Scarpelli made frequent cash withdrawals of less than $10,000 so as to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements. This conduct led to the charge of structuring cash transactions.
Scarpelli is also charged with tax evasion for failing to report nearly one-quarter million dollars for the 1999 tax year. Because of this, he evaded the payment of $81,434 in federal income tax.
Scarpelli, who faces up to 20 years in federal prison, has agreed to appear in United States District Court in Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
While working as a DFJ salesman, Scarpelli recruited an Orange County (California) accountant who lent his name, his opinions and his services to DFJ. Richard Glenn Dunham, 57, of Corona Del Mar, pleaded guilty in April to mail fraud and tax charges. Dunham currently is scheduled to be sentenced in June 2005 by United States District Judge Dale S. Fisher.
The third defendant to have been charged in this case, Stephen A. Ceparano, 64, a certified public accountant from Northport, New York, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud for his role in providing false financial documents to the operators of DFJ Italia. Ceparano, who entered his guilty pleas in United States District Court in Brooklyn, New York, is scheduled to be sentenced there in May 2005.
The cases against Scarpelli, Dunham and Ceparano are the result of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.