Robert G. Cusic Jr., Millstone, N.J., a New Jersey mortgage broker, admitted in federal court that he conspired with a New Jersey attorney and others to extort victims out of money and real property by falsely stating they were the subjects of criminal investigations.
The defendant pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton, New Jersey, federal court to an Information charging him with conspiracy to commit extortion under fear of economic harm.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Cusic, Thomas G. Frey and an uncharged co-conspirator (CC-1), schemed to extort and to defraud four victims, including two police officers, by falsely representing to the victims that they were the subjects of criminal investigations, principally by the IRS, in connection with investment properties some of them owned. Cusic falsely represented that while at a property formerly owned by one of the victims, Cusic encountered two IRS special agents (SA-1 and SA-2) who questioned him extensively about some of the victims.
Frey falsely told the victims he had ongoing communications with SA-1 about the purported investigation and had a special relationship with SA-1. Frey told the victims if they paid up to $20,000 each, he would call SA-1 and have the investigation converted from a criminal tax investigation to an IRS “desk audit,” a civil matter. Frey and CC-1 falsely stated that if the victims did not retain his services and pay the fee, the investigation would likely result in the arrest of certain victims.
Cusic admitted the goal of the conspiracy was to obtain approximately $80,000 in fees for Frey and to cause the victims to sell certain of the properties to Frey and others. Cusic stood to receive a portion of any fees paid by the victims, a percentage of the sale price of each of the investment properties sold to Frey and others, and property management fees on any of the properties sold.
The extortion conspiracy charge to which Cusic pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Cusic‘s sentencing before Judge Pisano is scheduled for Feb. 28, 2011.
Thomas G. Frey has been charged by Indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, one count of extortion and attempted extortion, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in addition to a charge seeking the forfeiture of $10,000. The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment against Frey are merely accusations, and he is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the guilty plea.
Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Treasury, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Geary, Washington Field Division, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric W. Moran of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.