Miami Lakes

Main cogs in a $23 million investment fraud get sentenced to federal prison

Craig Sizer, Miguel Mesa and Keith Houlihan will be givng up their Florida freedom for a view similar to this for the next several years.
Craig Sizer, Miguel Mesa and Keith Houlihan will be givng up their Florida freedom for a view similar to this for the next several years. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

Three South Florida men were sentenced recently for their key roles in the $23 million bi-coastal boiler room investment fraud scheme built around a company selling thermometers for dogs and humans.

The Sanomedics scam earned company founder, CEO and controlling shareholder Craig Sizer, 49, of Miami 15 years in federal prison. As Sizer was getting his next decade-and-a-half spoken for Wednesday, Sanomedics president and shareholder Keith Houlihan, 49, received nine years, three months federal prison time. Back on July 12, 57-year-old Miguel “Mike” Mesa got eight years, four months for running the Miami Lakes boiler room.

Each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Pembroke Pines Jack Willard Sini, 58; Miami Lakes’ Juan M. Perez Ortega, 47; Fort Lauderdale’s Jason David Hershberger, 40; Fort Lauderdale’s Shawna Leigh Lynch, 44; and Martin Miller, 75, of New Haven, Connecticut have been sentenced previously. Still to be sentenced out of this party bus full of participants are the quintet found guilty in June: North Bay Village’s Charles K. Topping, 40; Miami’s Charles David Smigrod, 69; Miami’s Matthew William Wheeler, 33; Miramar’s James Wayne Long, 60; and Anita Sgarro, 54, of Marina Del Ray, California, where the other boiler room was based.

Sizer admitted in court documents that among the lies told to potential investors were:

▪  Investors wouldn’t be charged commission or fees. In reality, Mesa and his workers made money only through commissions.

▪  Sales agents were employees of Sanomedics and Fun Cool Free (the company Sizer used in a separate $1.5 million fraud scheme) providing investors a unique opportunity to purchase a “limited number of shares'' directly from the company.

▪  That Sanomedics was a “safe investment,'' “profitable investment,'' and one where “you won't lose money.”

▪ That former Apple CEO and PepsiCo. President John Scully was the largest Sanomedics investor and was on the Sanomedics Board of Directors. In truth, Sizer and Houlihan controlled the number of Sanomedics shares on the market.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

  Comments