The defendants ran shell companies in the United States and boiler room scams abroad to steal millions of dollars from victims across the globe.

The United States Attorney’s Office announced February 9 that five defendants have been indicted in connection with a large-scale scheme to scam investors around the world and launder the stolen funds. Posing as fake investment firms based in the US, the fraudsters swindled victims into parting ways with their precious savings.

Robert Lenard Booth A.K.A. “Trevor Nicholas,” Michael D’Urso, Alyssa D’Urso, Jay Garnock, and Antonella Chiaramonte, have been charged with:

  • Conspiracy to commit securities fraud and operate unlicensed money transmitting businesses, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison;
  • Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and
  • Conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Michael D’Urso, Alyssa D’Urso, Jay Garnock, and Antonella Chiaramonte have also been charged with operation of unlicensed money transmitting businesses, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.

Booth’s Boiler Room Scam

From June 2019 to August 2021, Booth operated a boiler room scam whereby his Thailand-based team acted as an investment firm in Manhattan selling securities in US companies.

The criminals produced false marketing materials, fake contact details and phoney clients to mislead victim-investors and steal over US$1 million of their savings, which were then laundered.

“In selling their victims fake investments in American companies, the defendants abused the confidence and trust that investors worldwide have in American securities and American banks.”

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams

The D’Urso Crew’s Shell Companies

Meanwhile in New York, Michael D’Urso, Alyssa D’Urso, Garnock, and Chiaramonte – known together as the ‘D’Urso Crew’ – used a collection of shell companies and corresponding bank accounts to partner with boiler rooms like Booth’s and launder stolen funds, divvying out the dirty money to multiple conspirators.

It is estimated that the D’Urso Crew received over US$8.4 million in stolen money from this large-scale scheme, laundering more than US$4.6 million of it and returning it overseas.

Tracking Down The Defendants

This case highlights how the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) department and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) can hunt down financial criminals operating across the globe and bring them to justice.

Booth was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in August 2021. However, earlier this month, Garnock was arrested in West Palm Beach, Florida on the same day the remaining defendants were arrested in Glen Cove.

Mr. Williams commended the HSI and IRS-CI’s powerful investigative efforts, also thanking the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which itself has filed a parallel civil action for its collaboration in the investigation.

The Office’s General Crimes Unit is managing this case, with Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Jones and Jane Y. Chong leading the prosecution.

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