June 10, 2011
New Jersey-Based Attorney and Real Estate Developer Plead Guilty to Roles in Investment Fraud Conspiracy
TRENTON, N.J. – An attorney with a practice in Ocean, N.J., and a real estate developer admitted this week to their roles in an investment fraud conspiracy which embezzled nearly $1 million raised in connection with a series of purported commercial real estate developments in New Jersey, announced U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey.
Erik Mueller, 38, of Howell, N.J., pleaded guilty this afternoon to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Co-conspirator, David Moulakis, 54, of Toms River, N.J., pleaded guilty yesterday, June 9, 2011, to a separate information charging him with the same offense. Both defendants entered their guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton, N.J., federal court.
According to the informations to which the defendants pleaded guilty, other documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Mueller admitted that he conspired with real estate developers Allen Weiss, 59, of Marlboro, N.J., and Moulakis from August 2009 to February 2010 in a scheme to embezzle investment funds raised by Weiss and Moulakis in connection with a series of purported commercial real estate developments. Mueller, Weiss and Moulakis founded several holding corporations which they used to solicit investments to develop commercial real estate, including professional services locations for physicians in Holdmel, Hazlet and Neptune, N.J. Mueller admitted that he facilitated the scheme to embezzle nearly $1 million in investments funds contributed by victims toward the projects by providing Weiss and Moulakis with false documents. They then used the documents to lull victims of the fraud who had grown concerned about the security of their investments and to raise investment funds from additional victims. Moulakis also admitted to his role in the scheme.
Weiss pleaded guilty before Judge Thompson on April 21, 2011, to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The wire fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Oct. 6, 2011, for Mueller; Oct. 3, 2011, for Moulakis; and Sept. 20, 2011, for Weiss.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, for the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erez Liebermann, Chief of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit, and André M. Espinosa of the Office’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement working together to launch a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program co-chairs the task force’s Rescue Fraud Working Group. For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.