LAWFUEL – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for …

LAWFUEL – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, announced that eight defendants were charged yesterday for their participation in a fraudulent business opportunity firm called Cash Link Systems, Inc., of Hollywood, Florida. Alberto Ferreiras and Leslie Rattet were charged by Indictment unsealed this morning. Six other defendants – Peter Solo, Lee Samuel, James Settembrino, Bernardo Susi, Charles Bohn and Benjamin Goss – were charged by criminal Information filed yesterday.

According to the charges, these defendants and others engaged in the fraudulent sale of business opportunities through Cash Link Systems, Inc. Cash Link purported to sell cash-less ATMs to the public, along with assistance in establishing, maintaining, and operating a cash-less ATM business. Potential purchasers were told that after being placed in the locations Cash Link provided, the cash-less ATMs would be used by members of the public, who would swipe their debit cards and receive a receipt. The receipt, in turn, would be taken to the location’s cash register for cash or store credit. According to the co-conspirators, a business opportunity purchaser would earn substantial profits from the ATM fees generated when members of the public used the purchaser’s cash-less ATMs.

The charges allege that the defendants misrepresented the profits that could be earned by purchasing a Cash Link distributorship. Potential purchasers were told that for a purchase price of approximately $12,000, Cash Link would, among other things: perform the most difficult and time consuming part of the business – securing appropriate, viable, and high-traffic locations in which to place the cash-less ATMs; relocate any ATM that underperformed; and only sell distributorships in a limited geographic area. According to the charges, these representations were false.

The Indictment alleges that Alberto Ferreiras was one of Cash Link’s hidden owners and directors, and that he committed crimes at Cash Link at the time he was on release from other, unrelated criminal charges pending against him in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Ferreiras is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and eight counts of mail fraud. The Indictment alleges that Leslie Rattet participated in the conspiracy to defraud as a Cash Link salesman, and that Rattet committed the offenses while on release from other, unrelated criminal charges pending against him in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Rattet is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and three counts of mail fraud. With respect to each count brought against them, Ferreiras and Rattet are alleged to have committed offenses while on release, under Title 18, United States Code, section 3147.

The criminal Information alleges that Peter Solo, Lee Samuel, James Settembrino, Bernardo Susi and Charles Bohn, who served as Cash Link salesmen, participated in the Cash Link conspiracy. It further alleges that Benjamin Goss served as an “outside locator,” assigned to find locations for Cash Link purchasers’ cash-less ATM machines, and that he supplied Cash Link with a reference who agreed to misrepresent her experiences as a cash-less ATM owner.

Prior to the filing of the present charges, four other defendants were convicted and sentenced for their federal offenses for their participation in Cash Link. Leonard Needelman, Cash Link’s director of operations, received a sentence of 97 months’ imprisonment. Alan Levine, Cash Link’s president, received a sentence of 70 months’ imprisonment. Jason Kowal, a fraudulent Cash Link reference, received a sentence of 77 months’ imprisonment. Leland Balber, a Cash Link salesman, received a sentence of 42 months’ imprisonment.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Postal Inspection Service. This case is being prosecuted by Richard Goldberg, Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Litigation.

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 http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/.

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