NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City man was arrested yesterday on charges that he defrauded investors using phony contracts he had to sell olive oil to major retailers and then used the money for purchases, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Antonio Fasolino, 59, of Jersey City, New Jersey, was arrested by special agents of the FBI and charged by complaint with wire fraud. He was scheduled to appear yesterday’s afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court.
According to the criminal complaint:
Fasolino owned several companies that were purportedly involved in the manufacture, sale and distribution of pasta, tomato sauce, olive oil and other food products. In 2012, Fasolino allegedly engaged in an investment fraud scheme in which he obtained more than $3.4 million from two victims by falsely representing that Fasolino’s companies had been awarded lucrative contracts to sell olive oil. In fact, there were never any such contracts and Fasolino spent the money on himself, including car and mortgage payments, apartment rentals, a wedding, college tuition and credit card payments.
The count of wire fraud with which the defendant is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the scheme.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher, for the investigation leading to the arrests. He also thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen for their roles in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lakshmi Herman and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Devlin of the Assert Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.