Craig Sizer of Miami, Miguel Mesa of Miami Lakes, Keith Houlihan of Boca Raton, Florida, and 10 others from Florida and California have been arrested by the FBI and face multiple fraud charges for allegedly scamming $23 million from over 700 investors across the U.S. from 2009 to 2015.
The other 10 named in the indictment are Charles K. Topping of North Bay Village, Juan M. Perez Ortega of Miami Lakes, Matthew William Wheeler of Miami, Charles David Smigrod of Coconut Grove, Jason David Hershberger of Fort Lauderdale, James Wayne Long of Miramar, Shawna Leigh Lynch of Fort Lauderdale, Jack Willard Sini of Miami, Anita Sgarro of Marina Del Ray, California, and Martin Miller of Miami Beach.
All 13 are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and several counts of mail fraud. Sizer, Mesa, Topping, Sgarro, and Houlihan are also charged with substantive counts of wire fraud. New sources did not name attorneys for any of the defendants.
The defendants allegedly used two telephone sales rooms (“boiler rooms”) in Marina Del Ray, California, and Miami Lakes, Florida, to operate the alleged fraud scheme. Wifredo A. Ferrer, the U.S. State Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, is handling the case. Ferrer told the press that people who “target unsuspecting investors will . . . be prosecuted.” He also implored the community to be cautious of investment schemes that sound too good to be true.
According to the indictment, the 13 co-conspirators allegedly used false claims to solicit investors to buy stock from two companies: Sanomedics, a company that reportedly sells non-contact infrared thermometers, and Fun Cool Free, a software company that purportedly has 500 smartphone gaming applications in its portfolio.
Sizer, 48, is the founder of the two companies, and Mesa, 56, purportedly hired the sales agents who sold stock to investors. The two men face additional civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Miami. They are accused of misappropriation of investor funds and have agreed to pay partial settlements without denying or accepting the allegations.
Under Mesa’s supervision, the FBI claims that sales agents lied to investors by saying that the “Dog Whisperer” César Millan, former Apple CEO John Sculley, and OPKO Health, Inc. chairman Phillip Frost were representatives and big investors of Sanomedics.
Mesa also allegedly oversaw the boiler room operations for Fun Cool Free, which reportedly raked in an additional $1.5 million from over 70 investors. Mesa is believed to have hired Sgarro, 49, to operate the second telephone sales room in California and offer shares of stock to investors in the West Coast.
George Piro of the FBI’s Miami field office warned the public to “exercise due diligence” before investing money in shares of stock and not to “fall prey to fantastic claims from investment sales people.”