Paul Mancuso, 49, Glen Rock, New Jersey, pled guilty in Newark, New Jersey, federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with fraudulent investment schemes that defrauded 15 victims of more than $3 million.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
On August 21, 2014, a federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey indicted Mancuso on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. It also charged Pasquale Stiso, 53, West Harrison, New York, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Since 2009, Mancuso posed as a real estate investor, broker and developer, as well as a “hard money” lender for other investments. Stiso, a disbarred New York attorney, held himself out as an individual working with Mancuso on various investment projects.
During the plea hearing, Mancuso admitted that he and Stiso fraudulently obtained financing for projects that did not exist or in which they had no actual involvement. Some of the purported projects touted by Mancuso, Stiso, and other 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.
Victims lost all of their investments in Mancuso’s schemes. Instead of funding the purported projects, Mancuso and Stiso used the money for personal expenses and to finance their involvement in illegal gambling.
The charge of wire fraud conspiracy to which Mancuso pleaded guilty 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 greater. The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture of $3,425,750, representing the fraudulent payments Mancuso and Stiso received from the scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for January 12, 2016.
The charges against Stiso are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, and criminal investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francisco J. Navarro and Anthony Mahajan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.