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Spanish Resident Pleads to $16 Million Investment Fraud in Manhattan Court

investment fraud

LawFuel.com – Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and
George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that ANTHONIE R. SPARROW pled guilty
for his role in perpetrating a $16 million investment scheme that victimized hundreds of
investors around the world. SPARROW, who was charged in December 2009 and extradited
from Spain in August 2013, pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate
Judge Debra Freeman.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Anthonie Sparrow engaged in a flagrant
fraud, stealing millions of dollars from hundreds of innocent victims around the world, and then
fled to Spain to try to avoid the consequences of his crime. His prosecution, possible only
through an extradition from Spain, shows this Office’s resolve in holding accountable those who
victimize innocent investors.”
Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said: “Sparrow minted his own destiny
by lying to investors and cheating them out of millions of dollars. When the game was up,
Sparrow fled to Spain where he thought he was beyond the reach of the FBI. Today, Sparrow
finds himself guilty as charged, agreeing to forfeit all 16 million dollars made in his illicit
scheme.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and statements made at court
proceedings:
From 2002 to January 2005, SPARROW and co-defendant Masroor A. Khan
(“Khan”) orchestrated and carried out an extensive fraudulent coin investment scheme.
The defendants solicited victims to invest in rare, collectible coins through Lloyd’s &
Associates Asset Management Ltd. (“LAM”), a purported collectible coin and precious
metal business run by SPARROW. The victims were directed to wire funds –
purportedly for investments in rare coins – to LAM bank accounts in New York that
SPARROW controlled. Khan and SPARROW told the victims that these funds would be
used to purchase coins and that the coins would then be held at Pinnacle Depository
Service (“Pinnacle”), a purported coin depository and secure storage area, which was also
run by SPARROW.
However, rather than purchase coins with the victims’ funds as the defendants had
promised, SPARROW simply diverted the vast majority of the money, totaling
approximately $16 million, to a bank account in Cyprus controlled by LAM. To prevent
the victims from discovering the theft of their investments, SPARROW maintained a
website where victims were given false information about the value of the coins they
supposedly owned. SPARROW deliberately discouraged victims from coming to view
their coins in person and, when certain victims insisted on doing so, he staged elaborate
ruses to prevent them from seeing more than a few coins.
Beginning in late 2004, victims began to demand the return of their funds. In
response, in January 2005, SPARROW closed the New York office of LAM and fled to
Spain.
* * *
SPARROW, 53, of Estepona, Spain, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit
wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on
each count. SPARROW is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Robert W. Sweet on June 2,
2014, at 4:00 p.m. As part of his guilty plea, SPARROW also agreed to forfeit $16 million to the
United States. 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.
Khan remains a fugitive from the charges contained in the Indictment.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI. He also thanked the
Spanish National Police for their assistance in the arrest and extradition of SPARROW.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Comp

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