Raheem J. Brennerman Operated Wide-Ranging Scheme to Fraudulently Obtain Tens of Millions of Dollars in Bank Financing
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RAHEEM J. BRENNERMAN, a/k/a “Jefferson R. Brennerman,” a/k/a “Ayodeji Soetan,” was sentenced yesterday in Manhattan federal court to 12 years in prison for operating a wide-ranging scheme to fraudulently obtain tens of millions of dollars in bank financing. BRENNERMAN was convicted by a jury on December 6, 2017, of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and visa fraud after a two-week trial before United States Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan, who also imposed yesterday’s sentence.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “For years, Raheem J. Brennerman conned financial institutions and investors into extending loans to his phony businesses. Instead of using that money for his sham business, Brennerman took elaborate steps to disguise his fraud and lined his own pockets with millions of dollars in the process. He will now serve a substantial prison sentence for his crimes.”
In sentencing BRENNERMAN, Judge Sullivan told him: “You’re an inveterate con man. You’re a crook.” Judge Sullivan also told BRENNERMAN, “You’re someone for whom the truth has no value. You’re a liar. Shame on you.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment, other filings in Manhattan federal court, and the evidence presented at trial:
BRENNERMAN, from 2011 until 2017, orchestrated a scheme to defraud financial institutions through his operation of a purported oil and gas company called The Blacksands Pacific Group, Inc. (“Blacksands Pacific”), as well as several subsidiaries and associated corporate entities. BRENNERMAN sought financing for purported business deals by falsely representing that Blacksands Pacific had significant worldwide involvement in the exploration and development of oil and gas reserves, produced over 10,000 barrels of oil per day, had over $1 billion in long-term assets and over 100 million barrels of proved oil reserves, and employed approximately 100 employees, when, in fact, BRENNERMAN knew that Blacksands Pacific lacked any long-term assets, and had, at most, a few employees and minimal involvement in the oil and gas industry. As part of the fraudulent scheme, BRENNERMAN also lied about his name, place of birth, citizenship, and finances, and invented fake employees. Once BRENNERMAN received financing from victims based on his false statements, BRENNERMAN used significant amounts of the money to pay his own personal expenses, including the lease of a luxury condominium in Las Vegas, Nevada, and stays at expensive hotels (including thousands of dollars’ worth of in-room dining service), as well as the purchase of international flights to Europe, chartered car services, fine jewelry, high-end designer clothing, and spa treatments. In total, BRENNERMAN attempted to defraud financial institutions of tens of millions of dollars.
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In addition to his prison term, BRENNERMAN, 40, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced to three years of supervised release, a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $4,400,000, and restitution in an amount to be determined by the Court at a later date.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Special Agents for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He also thanked the United States Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service for their assistance.
On September 12, 2017, BRENNERMAN and Blacksands Pacific were convicted by a jury of criminal contempt of court after a one-week trial before United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. On May 21, 2018, Judge Kaplan sentenced BRENNERMAN to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The sentence imposed by Judge Sullivan will run consecutively to the sentence imposed by Judge Kaplan. On September 17, 2018, Judge Kaplan sentenced Blacksands Pacific to five years of probation and a $1,000,000 fine.