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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Phoenix Man Charged with $7 Million Internet Fraud and Tax Evasion

TUCSON—A federal grand jury in Tucson returned an 88-count indictment against Anthony Mark Boscarino, 44, of Phoenix, formerly of Tucson, on August 4, 2010. Boscarino is charged with 51 counts of wire fraud, 17 counts of money laundering, eight counts of mail fraud, and several tax evasion and firearms charges.

The indictment alleges Boscarino used his sports handicapping Internet business, called Mike’s Lock Club, to solicit customers to invest in several fraudulent schemes.

“The Internet provides no safe harbor for criminal behavior. Those who use the power and perceived anonymity of the Internet to scam will be fully prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “Together with the FBI and IRS we are committed to protecting the American people from Internet fraud.”

One scheme involved soliciting money from investors to give to a fictitious high limit slot machine player who made regular trips to Las Vegas to play with investor money. The indictment alleges investors wired the defendant more than $7,688,000 and that he diverted approximately $5,000,000 through various financial institutions for his own personal use. This includes approximately $4,000,000, which he wired to accounts maintained in Las Vegas casinos.

The indictment also charges the defendant with making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was investigating one of his schemes, and with evading paying taxes on more than $2.6 million in income in 2008 and 2009, and failing to pay $400,000 in back taxes he had agreed to pay after failing to file taxes from 1999 to 2006. He was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of two shotguns and one pistol recovered from his Phoenix residence, and making false statements on a firearm purchase form about his lack of felony convictions when he bought two firearms from a Tucson gun dealer.

“The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to pursuing those who willfully use the Internet to defraud the American people,” said Nathan Gray, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Division. “This indictment is the result of a collective effort by law enforcement and the United States Attorney's Office to combat Internet Fraud.”

A conviction for mail fraud or wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, and/or a fine of $250,000 or both; 10 years and/or a fine of $250,000 for money laundering; five years and/or a fine of $100,000 for failure to pay taxes and tax evasion; 10 years and/or a fine of $250,000 for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon; and five years and/or a fine of $250,000 for making false statements on a federal form required for the purchase of a firearm. In determining an actual sentence, Judge David Bury will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Tucson Offices of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Wallace H. Kleindienst, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

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