Lower Hudson Valley Man Ran Multimillion-Dollar Ponzi Scheme
A Lower Hudson Valley man was found guilty of running multimillion-dollar Ponzi and embezzlement schemes.
Ruless Pierre, 51, of Nanuet was convicted in Manhattan federal court of securities fraud, wire fraud, and structuring charges.
“Ruless Pierre was brought to justice for callously lying to investors," U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. "Pierre told investors their investment returns were excellent, when in fact he failed to invest investor funds as promised, generated losses when he did invest, and diverted much of investor funds to his personal use and to repay investors in a Ponzi-like fashion. We will continue aggressively to pursue frauds like this one in order to protect investors.”
According to the allegations contained in the complaint, indictment, and the evidence presented at trial:
Investment Promissory Fraud
From at least November 2016 through October 2019, Pierre solicited money from investors of Ruless Pierre Consulting Group (“RPCG”) by falsely promising them that he would earn a 20 percent return on their initial investment every 60 days through stock trading.
During the course of the investment fraud scheme, Pierre fraudulently obtained over $2 million from nearly 100 investors. After receiving money from investors, he deposited the money into one of his personal bank accounts or bank accounts of RPCG. He then transferred the money to trading accounts, where he engaged in unprofitable day trading. Despite his trading losses, Pierre repeatedly and falsely represented to investors, including in investment statements containing fictitious balances, that the trading was profitable and that their investments were growing as promised. In addition to losing their money, Pierre also used investors’ funds to pay for personal expenses, including luxury vehicles.
The Franchise Investment Fraud
Beginning in or about November 2018, Pierre began to offer investors the opportunity to purchase partnership interests in a partnership that would run three fast-food franchise locations. At the time, he did not own any of the fast-food franchises, but he was in discussions regarding purchasing them.
He promised the investors a five percent monthly return on the investment, in addition to a 40 percent pro-rata share of the quarterly gross operating profit. The minimum investment was $5,000.
In or around April 2019, Pierre purchased one fast-food franchise for approximately $50,000. He did not purchase the other franchises.
In Ponzi-like fashion, Pierre fraudulently misappropriated some of the fast-food franchise investors’ money to pay back investors in the Promissory Note Fraud.
In total, Pierre raised at least $200,000 from at least 18 investors. Some of the investors were paid their five percent monthly distribution, but the vast majority of the investors were not made whole. The fast-food franchise went out of business in December 2019.
The Embezzlement Fraud Scheme
In another scheme, Pierre embezzled money from his former employers. From approximately 2007 until February 2016, Pierre was the director of finance for two different hotels, which were owned by the same company. One hotel was located in the Palisades, New York, while the other was located in Armonk, New York.
After August 2018, Pierre no longer worked at either hotel, but he regularly wrote himself checks payable to cash from the Management Companies’ bank accounts.
Pierre is scheduled to be sentenced on September 9, 2021, at 2:30 p.m.
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