Thomas A. Guerriero of Hillsboro Beach, Florida pleaded guilty to running a $6.6 million telemarketing and investment fraud conspiracy. Guerriero was formerly the director of the Oxford City Football Club, a minor league soccer team based in the university town northwest of London, England. He resigned just before he was indicted on federal charges in December.
Guerriero pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud in federal court in Miami. The maximum penalty for the offense is twenty years in federal prison. He has agreed to pay $6.6 million in restitution and forfeit homes he owns on the Hillsboro Mile, in Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach as part of his plea agreement.
Prosecutors are expected to dismiss the other charges, including witness-tampering and obstruction of justice, after U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom sentences him on May 13.
According to prosecutors, Guerriero threatened witnesses and their children and pressured some victims to change their stories. He also offered to “spend money” to protect his allies. Though Guerriero is believed to be the orchestrator of the fraud, eight people were indicted with him.
Guerriero wrote scripts for his sales team that were used to get around 150 people from all over the country to invest. Investors were subjected to “high-pressure, strong-armed tactics to intimidate and coerce” them into putting up money, prosecutors said. Guerriero and his underlings threatened to sue anyone who tried to pull out of the transactions and warned they would seize victims’ money and ruin their credit ratings if they did not pay promptly, according to the indictment.
“Based on his misconduct, [Guerriero] personally received more than $1,500,000 but less than $3,500,000 in ill-gotten gains,” according to the plea agreement he signed. Much of the rest of the cash was used to pay employees and other expenses, investigators said.
Investigators said the fraud operated from July 2013 to July 2015 and affected more than 150 victims from all over the United States. The suspects are accused of lying to investors about the “safety, profitability, and transferability” of the stock and the commissions and fees being paid.
Investors were told restricted shares were being sold at a steep discount for a limited time, that they would pay a 50 percent dividend in the first year, and the investment would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year. Guerriero told investors it was a “no-brainer.”
Prosecutors said Guerriero was fired by two U.S. broker dealers for “lying to investors” and that he has a history of SEC problems.
If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.