LawFuel.com – US Attorney Newswire
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 United States
Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced that RAZEL CANEDO,
a/k/a “Razel Torres,” a/k/a “Razel Agravante,” was arrested on
charges of running a million-dollar Ponzi scheme that targeted
the Filipino immigrant community in New York City. CANEDO was
arrested Friday afternoon in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and is
expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later today.
According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal
From January 2003 to July 2008, CANEDO solicited
investments from members of the Filipino community in the New
York City area, by representing that the funds would be invested
in one of two companies that she owned — Lady of Lourdes and
K&K Nannies. CANEDO told investors that they would earn a return
on their investment of anywhere from three percent per month to
50 percent per year. CANEDO told victims that the money invested
in Lady of Lourdes would be used to pay for training, immigration
expenses, and placement services for nurses from the Phillipines
who wanted to work in the United States, and that the money
invested in K&K Nannies would be used to pay for similar services
for aspiring nannies. CANEDO also represented to the investors
that they could withdraw their principal at any time with no
CANEDO presented checks and promissory notes to
investors which she claimed could be cashed at any time to recoup
their original investment. In many instances, when investors
attempted to cash the checks, they bounced. When questioned by
those investors, CANEDO assured them that they would be paid,
gave them various excuses for why the checks had bounced, and
sometimes instructed them to cash the checks at a later date.
CANEDO initially made a small number of payments, which
she represented to be investment income or “interest” income, to
some of the investors in order to induce them to keep their money
with her, to invest additional funds, and to recruit other
investors. In fact, these “interest” payments were simply made
from the funds CANEDO received from other victims, to create the
impression that the investments were generating returns. As with
many Ponzi schemes, some investors received no payments at all
from CANEDO. In fact, CANEDO did not invest the victims’ money
in Lady of Lourdes or K&K Nannies, but rather transferred the
bulk of the money to overseas bank accounts, or deposited it into
domestic accounts and withdrew it as cash.
CANEDO’s fraudulent scheme cost dozens of victims a
total of more than $1 million.
* * *
CANEDO, 41, is charged with one count of mail fraud and
one count of wire fraud. If convicted on these charges, CANEDO
faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
CANEDO is expected to be presented today before U.S.
Magistrate Judge RONALD L. ELLIS. The case is assigned to United
States District Judge BARBARA S. JONES.
Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the USPIS
in this case.
“Razel Canedo preyed on members of the Filipino-
American community who invested their hard-earned money into what
they later learned was merely Canedo’s bank accounts. We will
continue to work with our partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection
Service to pursue financial fraud and vindicate its victims,”
said U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA.
“Ponzi schemes often target religious or ethnic groups
to defraud them of their hard earned money. Working with the
U.S. Attorney’s Office and the community, the Postal Inspectors
will combat these frauds to protect everyone in our community
from falling victim,” said USPIS Inspector-in-Charge RONALD J.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex
Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorney SEETHA
RAMACHANDRAN is in charge of this prosecution.