Former Bay area real estate professional sentenced for laundering $1M in fraud scheme
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A former Tampa Bay area real estate professional was sentenced to federal prison for laundering over $1 million in an “international boiler room fraud scheme,” authorities announced Friday.
According to a plea agreement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, 63-year-old Frank Sebastian Visicaro, of Trinity, used his real estate company, two shell companies, and various bank accounts in the companies’ names to launder the proceeds of fraud scheme which took money from unsuspecting victims via the sale of worthless investments.
The attorney’s office said the victim’s funds were wired directly into the bank accounts of the two shell companies, however, money was more commonly collected from victims who wired money to United States-based accounts controlled by other conspirators.
Those conspirators would then wire the money to accounts controlled by Visicaro.
The Attorney’s Office said Visicaro’s accounts served as “buffer” accounts, or secondary bank accounts used to transfer and conceal victims’ money to avoid detection.
“In total, more than $1 million in victims’ funds flowed into Visicaro-controlled accounts,” the Attorney’s Office said.
“Illegal activity involving the investment industry has brought financial ruin to many people,” said IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronald A. Loecker. “IRS Criminal Investigation is determined to attack these fraud schemes by utilizing our forensic accounting skills and working side by side with Homeland Security Investigations and put a stop to this and other types of financial crime.”
Visicaro was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering. As part of his sentence, he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,088,440, the proceeds of funds laundered through bank accounts he controlled. Visicaro pleaded guilty on Dec. 9, 2021.
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