Paul Mancuso, 46, Glen Rock, New Jersey, and Pasquale Stiso, a/k/a Pat Stiso, 52, West Harrison, New York, were arrested and charged with engaging in a real estate investment fraud conspiracy that defrauded more than 15 victims of approximately $5 million from 2009 to the present.
The defendants are charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They made their initial court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal Court. Stiso was released on bail. Mancuso was ordered detained, pending a bail hearing.
According to the complaint:
From 2009 through the present, Mancuso held himself out as a real estate investor, broker, and/or developer, as well as a hard money lender and broker of other various purported investments. Mancuso obtained from his victims substantial investments for various projects that, in fact, either did not exist at all or in which Mancuso had no actual involvement. Stiso, a disbarred attorney, held himself out as an individual who was working with Mancuso on various purported projects.
Some of the purported projects touted by Mancuso, Stiso, and/or their co-conspirators included investments in a phony ticket scam, the development of a pizzeria at a resort in the Bahamas, the development of a casino in Atlantic City, the development of a commercial shopping center, and the flipping of a piece of real estate in Matawan. Most, if not all, of Mancuso‘s victims lost all or substantially all of the money they invested with him and his co-conspirators. Many of Mancuso‘s victims have lost all or substantially all of their life savings in his various schemes to defraud.
The complaint also alleges that Mancuso and Stiso were heavily involved in illegal gambling pursuits and that they both owe substantial sums of money to one of their bookmakers or “bookies” (referred to in the complaint as “the Bookie”). Indeed, Mancuso paid the Bookie in excess of $600,000 from gambling losses in or around 2012, and defendant Mancuso still owes the Bookie approximately $500,000 from gambling losses.
The charge of wire fraud conspiracy carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss associated with the offense, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the charges.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez; Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen; as well as Criminal Investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the investigation leading to the arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Colone of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.