A Manalapan resident has been charged with defrauding victims in an investment fraud scheme out of at least $1 million and with fraudulently obtaining a loan of approximately $96,000 meant to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on Aug. 17.
Anthony Mastroianni Jr., 48, was charged in a five-count complaint with wire and mail fraud. He was scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Aug. 17 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to documents filed in the case and to statements made in court: in 2016, Mastroianni consented to being permanently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which prohibited him from acting as a broker or intermediary in securities transactions.
Despite that debarment, from January 2017 to August 2022, Mastroianni defrauded victim investors, many of whom were senior citizens, by falsely and fraudulently claiming he would generate large investment profits for them through his company, Global Business Development and Consulting Corp.
Instead of investing the money as promised, Mastroianni used victim funds on personal expenses, including household rent, automobile payments, credit card bills and cash withdrawals. Mastroianni allegedly defrauded 10 victims out of $1 million.
Mastroianni also allegedly exploited the ongoing global pandemic by submitting a false and fraudulent application to obtain $96,300 from a federal COVID-19 emergency relief loan meant for distressed small businesses.
As with his investment fraud scheme, Mastroianni allegedly misused the loan proceeds to make personal purchases and cash withdrawals.
According to the press release, each count of mail and wire fraud carries a maximum potential punishment of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross loss or gain caused by the offense.