Jersey City man indicted for $3.5 million investment fraud scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City, New Jersey, man was indicted today on charges that he fraudulently obtained $3.5 million from two investors by falsely representing that his businesses had secured lucrative contracts to sell olive oil to major retailers, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Antonio Fasolino, 60, who was originally charged by complaint with one count of wire fraud in June 2016, is now charged by indictment with three counts of wire fraud and one count of transacting in criminal proceeds.

According to the indictment:

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 obtained approximately $3.5 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.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The transacting in criminal proceeds count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Each charge in the indictment is also punishable by a potential $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. 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. Attorney Lakshmi Herman and Deputy Chief 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 charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.