June 9, 2021
A Burlington County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 65 months in prison for defrauding several investors of more than $1.5 million, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Brett Cooper, 44, of Moorestown, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb to an information charging him with one count of money laundering. Judge Bumb imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in Court:
Cooper and two other individuals created a “high-yield bank scheme” and solicited investments from multiple investors, telling them that they could double or triple their initial investments in 60 to 90 days. Cooper set up several shell companies, including a company he named Peninsula Water Development and another named Dream Holdings, and he had the investors wire money to bank accounts that he had set up for these shell companies. Cooper admitted that he never invested any of the money and that he transferred the money to his personal accounts used it to pay his living expenses and for other personal expenditures. Cooper also wired some of the money from the investors to two other conspirators. A total of eight victims lost money due to Cooper’s fraudulent scheme.
Cooper was previously found liable for damages related to the fraud scheme in a civil case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the civil case, Cooper was ordered to pay over $2 million in damages and fines in November 2015.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Bumb sentenced Cooper to three years of supervised and fined him $25,000. Restitution will be determined at a late date.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited agents with IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; and attorneys and investigators for the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the direction of Division of Enforcement Director Stephanie Avakian, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Askin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Camden Office.
Defense counsel: Edward Crisinino Esq., Haddon Township, New Jersey