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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

‘Ponzi’ schemer gets 11 years, must pay $2 million in restitution

A jury found that, from around 2007 through 2012, Carlos Maldonado and several associates fraudulently solicited and procured through phony investment contracts over $5 million from more than 100 individuals and other businesses.

By The Star Staff

Carlos Maldonado, owner of Business Planning Resources International Corp. (BPRIC), Glorimar Fashions and Tailoring LLC and Global Business Insurance Agency Inc., and associated under incorporation documents with Pet Card Systems Inc., and Datavos Corp., was sentenced Monday to 11 years and three months (135 months) in prison for securities fraud and bank fraud, and ordered to serve five years of supervised release. Maldonado was also ordered to pay $1,986,734.26 in restitution to 46 of his victims.

Maldonado was charged with 16 counts of securities fraud and bank fraud on Oct. 27, 2016. In December 2019, he was found guilty on all counts after a jury trial. The jury found that, from on or about 2007 through 2012, Maldonado along with several associates fraudulently solicited and procured over $5 million on behalf of BPRIC from over 100 individuals and other businesses. As part of the fraudulent scheme, Maldonado and his associates provided phony investment contracts to victims in Puerto Rico and the mainland United States in exchange for their monetary investment in his bogus business enterprises.

During trial, the government presented checks, bank records, emails, other documentary evidence, and witness and victim testimonies that proved that the defendant made or caused materially false and misleading representations to be made to investors, including: (i) that the various companies were involved in legitimate business functions ― which he knew not to be true; (ii) failing to disclose to investors that their funds would be used to buy and trade stocks and commodities on a ScottTrade account, Foreex Capital markets LLC, and other personal trading accounts, and for Maldonado’s family expenses instead of funding the bogus business ventures; and (iii) failing to disclose that the investment funds fraudulently obtained were to be used by Maldonado to purchase goods and services at retail stores, restaurants, and for spending money for travel, rent, entertainment, and personal auto loan payments.

After the imposition of the substantive sentence by U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock, from the District of Maine, U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico emphasized that “investment fraud can come in many forms, but its main feature is the promise of a fast and high return.”

“Fraudsters, posing as salespeople or entrepreneurs, contact unsuspecting individuals and offer them seemingly exciting investment opportunities,” he said. “The victims are lured in by the promise of a deal that is ‘too good to be true’ because it isn’t true. We want to remind the citizens of Puerto Rico that no investment is risk-free and that an offer of a high rate of return always means greater risk. Before investing, get written information, such as a prospectus or annual report, and be wary if a salesperson pressures you to invest immediately, promises you quick profits, encourages you to borrow money or cash-in retirement funds to invest, tells you to write false information on your account forms, or uses words like ‘guarantee,’ ‘high return,’ or ‘limited offer.’ As soon as you suspect that you have been the target of a fraudulent scheme, contact law enforcement so we can prosecute those responsible and attempt to recover the stolen funds.”

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