Grier and His Co-Conspirators Allegedly Defrauded Victims of $2.275 Million as Part of an Advance Fee Scheme
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the extradition of NAPOLEON GRIER from the Netherlands on alleged wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy charges. GRIER was taken into custody by Dutch authorities in Amsterdam on August 13, 2019. After contested extradition proceedings, GRIER arrived in the United States yesterday. He will be presented today before United States Magistrate Katharine H. Parker. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Richard M. Berman.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Napoleon Grier was part of a criminal conspiracy that bilked victims out of more than $2 million in advance fees for promised project financing that was never delivered. Now, Grier is in U.S. custody and facing federal felony charges.”
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: “Advance-fee schemes are based on false pretenses that criminals use to ensnare victims and trap them in their fraudulent plot. When victims pay these fees, they assume their alleged investor will put up the money promised to fund their venture, but that never happens. While Grier’s victims expected a loan they never received, he and his co-conspirators likely didn’t anticipate the FBI would deliver on its promise to hold con artists accountable.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint and the Indictment:
From at least in or about April 2012, up to and including at least in or about August 2012, GRIER and others devised and participated in a scheme that defrauded victims of at least $2.275 million (the “Advance Fee Scheme”). GRIER and his co-conspirators – operating out of offices near Wall Street in New York, New York – held themselves out to victims as experienced financiers and promised that they could obtain financing for victims’ intended projects. GRIER and his co-conspirators promised victims that after the victims wired initial deposits into escrow accounts controlled by the co-conspirators, the victims would later receive the full amount of their promised financing, often in a few months’ time. GRIER and his co-conspirators never provided any of the financing they promised to victims and they never returned any of the more than $2.275 million in advance fees they defrauded the victims into depositing into escrow accounts.
The Advance Fee Scheme included at least four sets of victims. GRIER and his co-conspirators defrauded (1) a New Jersey-based woman, who was promised $2.5 million in financing to purchase, remodel, and reopen a concert hall in New Jersey, of a $225,000 advance fee; (2) two Pennsylvania-based men, who were promised $20 million in financing to start a fuel additive company in Ecuador, of a $150,000 to advance fee; (3) a Canadian filmmaker and a California-based filmmaker, who were promised $3 million of financing to make a movie, of a more than $900,000 advance fee; and (4) two Illinois-based men, who were promised up to $10 million in financing for the purchase of a Canadian wind turbine company, of a $1 million advance fee.
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GRIER, 56, is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of wire fraud conspiracy, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI. She also thanked the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Justice and Security for their assistance.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin V. Rodriguez is in charge of the prosecution.
 As the introductory phase signifies, the entirety of the texts of the Indictment and the Complaint, and the description of the Indictment and Complaint set forth below, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.