EUGENE, Ore.—A federal jury in Eugene today convicted a former New Jersey man for his role in a scheme to steal $1 million from an elderly man residing in Roseburg, Oregon.
Thomas Gerard Mautone, 43, formerly of Newark, New Jersey, was convicted of four counts of wire fraud.
According to court documents and trial testimony, Mautone was one of five people who together carried out a month-long scheme to convince an elderly man to invest $1 million in a fraudulent international high-profile investment scheme. yield. In July 2015, one of Mautone’s co-defendants, Jared Mack, 46, of Utah, made initial contact with the victim, via email, to present him with an investment opportunity claiming to produce weekly returns of 20%. After the victim expressed interest in the alleged investment opportunity, Mack introduced him to Mautone, the supposed connection to the investment “platform partner”, and later co-defendant, Olabode Olukanni , 39, from New York.
For several months, Mautone and his co-defendants maintained frequent contact with the victim and repeatedly attempted to assure him, through a series of increasingly intimidating and pressured communications, of the legitimacy, low risk and promised returns from the investment opportunity. These false claims were made when Mautone knew that others were having their money stolen by his supposed Hong Kong investment partner, “YangXin Deng”.
In December 2015, the victim wired $1 million to a bank account in Dubai, which was controlled by co-defendant Rovshan Bahader Oglu Qasimov, 38, from Azerbaijan. Qasimov immediately withdrew the money and used it to buy gold from a jewelry store in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The victim never saw his money again, nor did he receive the promised returns on investment.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of probation. Mautone will be sentenced on September 8, 2022 by U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.
Mack, Olukanni and Qasimov all pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their role in the scheme.
U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.
This case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gavin W. Bruce and William M. McLaren prosecuted the case.