MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES ARREST OF MAN WHO OPERATED $500,000 PET-RELATED INVESTMENT SCAM

Defendant Allegedly Used False and Misleading Internet and Print Ads to Deceive Investors

24 January 2011 – Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ronald J. Verrochio, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced that ERIC STEIN was charged today with running an investment scam through Return-A-Pet LLC – a Manhattan-based company he operated that purportedly facilitated the return of lost pets to their owners. As part of the scheme in which he netted at least $500,000, STEIN allegedly deceived dozens of consumers into purchasing sham Return-A-Pet distributorships using false and misleading advertisements. STEIN ran the company while out on supervised release for an investment fraud scheme in which he had been previously convicted of committing in Nevada. He was arrested this morning and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger. He was ordered detained.

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