Crime

His fraud took $2 million from senior citizens. He’ll be one when he gets out of prison

The Fresno Bee

A Parkland resident’s federal court conviction last week completed the prosecution of a white-collar gang that defrauded at least 12 elderly victims out of $2 million.

Unlike his criminal cohorts, 60-year-old Thomas White decided to go to trial after the FBI and Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation uncovered a scheme involving White’s First Call Ventures. White wound up convicted of three counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

He will be sentenced Feb. 26.

White’s cronies fell on the legal knife months ago. Delray Beach’s John Reech, 56, and Boca Raton’s Joseph Genzone, 53, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Reech got four years and three months. Genzone will be sentenced Friday.

Aventura resident Daniel Touizer, 44, was sentenced to five years, eight months for a scheme related to White and Reech’s. Saul Suster, 66, of Sunny Isles Beach earned 2 1/2 years in federal prison for being a phone room worker for Touizer.

According to court documents, including Reech and Genzone’s admission of facts, White hired Reech and Genzone to sell shares of First Call Ventures from a phone room. The former Brooklyn resident was President and CEO of First Call Ventures and subsidiaries First Call Movers, First Call Auto Transport, First Call Freight and First Call List, collectively referred to as FCV in court documents.

“During telephone calls, White and his co-conspirators used false statements, manipulation, and high-pressure tactics to target elderly investors (victims) and their retirement money,” the Justice Department said. “The victims included retired teachers, farmers, small business owners, and homemakers, from across the United States. When his targets did not have available funds to invest, White tricked them into converting their Individual Retirement Account money and transferring the funds to his corporate bank account.”

Among the lies that poured from their mouths, some could be seen as too-good-to-be-true warnings for potential fraud victims:

FCV was a “safe investment,” a “profitable investment,” and “you won’t lose money.”

Investors would receive a guaranteed return on investment

No fees would be charged to investors unless FCV turned a profit.

White, Reech and Genzone had personally invested in FCV

Though they said all investor funds would be used for business, Reech’s admission says the men “used approximately 80 percent of investor proceeds to pay themselves and their co-conspirators undisclosed commissions, fees and excessive salaries.”

Also, “to create the illusion of success, White paid prior investors what he called ‘interest payments’ with new investors’ money.”

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