A Flemington man admitted to conspiring with a twice-convicted fraudster Eli Weinstein to defraud investors of more than $35 million, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced Wednesday.
Christopher Anderson, 47, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in the U.S. District Court in Trenton federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Anderson admitted conspiring with others, including Weinstein, whose 24-year federal prison sentence was commuted by Donald Trump after being twice convicted of defrauding investors of a total of $230 million. Richard Curry, 36, of Northumberland, Pa. also took part in the scheme and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud Wednesday.
“These two defendants admitted scheming with Eli Weinstein and others to rip off investors to the tune of millions of dollars,” Sellinger said. “They admitted that this scheme used phony identities and false promises of access to deals involving scarce medical supplies, baby formula, and first-aid kits supposedly destined for wartime Ukraine to defraud their victims. They will now face justice for their crimes, and we will continue to pursue the other alleged conspirators.”
Weinstein, Aryeh “Ari” Bromberg, Joel Wittels, Shlomo Erez, and Alaa Hattab were previously charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice based on allegations arising from the same scheme in which Anderson and Curry pleaded guilty. That complaint remains pending.
Anderson and Curry admitted to conspiring with each other, Weinstein, Bromberg, Wittels, Hattab and Erez to make materially false and misleading statements and omissions to investors and potential investors. These statements included actively concealing Weinstein’s identity, history of fraud, and role in purported investments, and falsely claiming that investors’ funds would be used to invest in lucrative deals.
Weinstein was convicted two times in New Jersey federal court for defrauding investors. His first case involved a real estate Ponzi scheme, and his second case stemmed from additional fraud Weinstein committed while on pretrial release. For these crimes, which resulted in combined losses to investors of approximately $230 million, Weinstein was sentenced to serve 24 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. On Jan. 19, 2021, after Weinstein had served less than eight years in prison, Trump commuted Weinstein’s term to time served, leaving intact the rest of his sentence.
Conspiracy to commit securities fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Sentencing for Anderson is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2024, and for Curry, Jan. 18, 2024.
“Anderson and Curry are admitting they took part in a scheme that created millions of dollars in loss for the victims,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James Dennehy said. “Although it’s not easily understood, scams like this impact people’s lives in a very real way. We’re asking anyone who believes they are a victim or know of an investment that doesn’t pass the smell test, to reach out to us at the Newark FBI. We will do all we can to hold those fraudsters accountable and protect the next potential victim.”