Thursday, June 20, 2013

Theodore Sweeten Pleads Guilty in $5 Million Fraud Scheme

Theodore Sweeten, the president of Symtech International Inc. (Symtech), pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud before United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York. When sentenced, Sweeten faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

Sweeten, who claimed he developed and patented the “Clean Air Valve,” among other environmental products, admitted at his guilty plea that he defrauded an investor of $5 million by lying to him about his expertise in their joint venture agreement. The indictment charged Sweeten and two others with inducing the victim to make the investment in order to “lease” a credit line of $100 million, which in turn would enable him to generate millions of dollars in profit through special investment programs. In furtherance of that scheme, the indictment alleges that the defendants falsely represented that the victim’s funds would be held in an attorney escrow account pending confirmation of the posting of $100 million in the leased-funds account. In fact, they simply distributed the victim’s $5 million among themselves and falsely represented that a $100 million account had been created at HSBC by sending the victim fabricated bank documents on HSBC letterhead.

“Theodore Sweeten defrauded an investor of his hard-earned savings through fanciful tales about his investment and environmental expertise, but the only expertise Sweeten truly had was being a con man,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This office, together with our law enforcement colleagues, will vigorously pursue those who prey on unsuspecting investors.” Ms. Lynch expressed her appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Winston M. Paes and Marcia M. Henry.

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