HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A 53-year-old man from Wethersfield pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford for his involvement in an investment scheme that defrauded individuals and couples of more than $874,000.
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Anthony G. Sciarra, formerly of Marlborough, waived his right to be indicted and pled guilty to one count of wire fraud. According to Daly, court documents and statements made in court reflect that from 2001 until May 2012, Sciarra operated AGS Financial, through which he offered insurance, securities and other financial products. In approximately May 2012, the Connecticut Department of Insurance revoked Sciarra’s insurance license.
Between approximately 2007 and July 2015, Sciarra held himself out as a bona fide insurance agent and financial advisor when he was not. Through AGS Financial, and later through an entity he described as “Westport Enterprises,” Sciarra solicited investments from various victim-investors with promises of high annual investment returns ranging from 4 percent to 12 percent or more. Sciarra falsely represented to investors that he would invest their funds in a bond fund and/or a cigarette distribution business. Instead of investing any of the invested money as promised, Sciarra diverted funds for his personal use, including to pay for restaurant meals and department store purchases, and to pay loans and other personal bills. The investigation revealed that Sciarra also made large cash withdrawals from ATMs and at Foxwoods Casino. He also used some of the funds to make “interest” payments to other victim-investors.
During the scheme, Sciarra made false statements to certain victim-investors, both in person and by e-mail, in an attempt to explain the various delays in the purported interest payments. In addition to telling victim-investors that their funds had been invested as represented, Sciarra sought to prevent the discovery of the scheme by issuing partial payments to the victim-investors as a partial return of the principal and monies that were then due. Eventually, these payments stopped and the scheme was discovered.
Through this scheme, Sciarra defrauded at least 12 victim-investors of approximately $874,000.
Judge Shea scheduled sentencing for April 26, 2017, at which time Sciarra faces a maximum term of prison of 20 years. He is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.