In New Jersey, officials have charged a Middlesex County man over allegations that he intentionally defrauded some 26 local investors out of more than $1.3 million amid promises that the cash was destined to be used to help establish online gambling businesses.
Sandy Masselli named as lead defendant:
According to an official Tuesday press release from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Sandy Masselli has been named as the lead defendant in the case filed with the New Jersey Superior Court. The action alleges that he partnered with his wife and an associate known as Joseph Picco from neighboring Monmouth County between July of 2012 and the end of last year to sell stock in entities known as Carlyle Gaming and Carlyle Limited.
Proceeds used to fund a ‘lavish lifestyle’:
However, instead of using the monies for the purposes of building up these enterprises, the state contends that Masselli had funded a ‘lavish lifestyle’ that involved the spending of some $145,000 via personal credit cards alongside over $25,000 on automobile leases and at least $68,000 for restaurant, clothing and hotel bills.
The action moreover alleges that Masselli utilized a further $93,000 to pay legal bills associated with an ongoing federal criminal court matter while furthermore handing over $17,000 to fund his son’s tuition at George Washington University.
Investors convinced of ‘savvy businessman’ credentials:
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal declared that Masselli had erroneously led the unsuspecting investors to believe that he was ‘a savvy businessman’ that had ‘a long and successful track record in the online gambling industry’.
Grewal’s statement read…
“Today’s allegations make clear that this was nothing more than a million-dollar fraud and that Masselli used investors’ hard-earned money to finance his own extravagant lifestyle. The complaint filed by the Bureau of Securities is simply the latest step in our effort to protect New Jersey’s investors and crack down on financial fraudsters.”
Action seeing ‘restitution’ for duped investors:
Paul Rodriguez, Acting Director for the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, detailed that the action is seeking ‘restitution for the defrauded investors’ as well as ‘penalties against Masselli and other defendants’.
Rodriguez’ statement read:
“This wasn’t a case where defendants diverted a small portion of investor funds for their own use. We allege that nearly every dime the defendants took in from investors was funneled into their own accounts and they helped themselves to the money as if it belonged to them. They, like other similarly situated defendants, will now pay the price for living the high life on the backs of defrauded investors.”