Six Indicted In Nassau County For Defrauding Investors
Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a Nassau County grand jury has returned an 89-count indictment against six individuals and three corporations from their network of "wealth enhancement" organizations for a multifaceted scheme in which they defrauded investors and financial institutions alike out of millions of dollars.
The defendants were arraigned by Justice Meryl Berkowitz of Nassau County New York Supreme Court on charges including scheme to defraud, grand larceny, forgery and falsifying business records. Bail was set on all six defendants, at amounts ranging from $250,000 and $100,000 on lead defendants Alfred Mills and Elisia Ann Alvarez to $2,500 on defendant Odra Arango.
The indictment charges that from 2001 through 2006 defendants Alfred Mills and Elisia Ann Alvarez formed several companies, including defendants AAGR, AAGR Wealth Enhancement Organization and A&A Global Resources (collectively "AAGR"), through which they touted their self-described program of empowerment and wealth enhancement to low and middle income residents of their community. They conducted large workshops to market their products, which included investments in foreign currency and real estate that they falsely described as highly profitable and low risk. Defendants Maureen Alvarez and Genesis Small worked in their corporate office and helped recruit members and victims.
In another part of the scheme, they identified homeowners at imminent risk of foreclosure and persuaded them to "temporarily" transfer ownership of their homes to "straw buyers" such as defendants Carmen Sifontes and Odra Arango. The straw buyers, under AAGR control, applied for mortgages using phony credit histories and, after defendants drained the equity, defaulted on the loans. Typically, once the deal was closed, the original owners were evicted and the lending institution received little or no repayment on the loan.
The defendants were charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, an E Felony, Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a B Felony; Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a C Felony; Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, an E Felony; Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a D Felony; and related charges. If convicted, defendants face a maximum of twenty-five years in state prison on each first-degree grand larceny charge and a maximum of fifteen years in state prison on each second-degree grand larceny charge
The defendants are:
Alfred Mills, 38, of Kings County;
Elisia Ann Alvarez, 52, of Nassau County;
Maureen Alvarez, 52, of Nassau County
Genesis Small, 28, of Nassau County;
Carmen Sifontes, 63, of Nassau County;
Odra Arango, 34, of Nassau County
A & A Global;
AAGR Wealth Enhancement Organization,
The indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case was investigated and prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Rhonda Greenstein and Ronda Lustman, under the supervision of Criminal Prosecutions Deputy Bureau Chief Felice Sontupe, and Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Chief Janet Cohn.
The investigation was conducted by Investigators Brian Ford and Ismael Hernandez, with the assistance of Associate Auditor Percy Corcoran, all of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator John McManus, Investigations Bureau Deputy Chief Henry Lemons, and Chief Investigator William Casey.