February 14, 2020
By Caity Witucki
Contributing Editor, Fraud Friday
Fraud Friday – Montana Broker Found Guilty in Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme
Last week, Sean Finn, a former Montana loan broker was found guilty in Nevada District Court for his involvement in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Finn conspired with numerous others in the United States and Switzerland to promote an investment and loan company he knew to be fictitious. The company, known as Malom (Make A Lot of Money) Group AG, claimed that an up-front payment of $100,000 to $1 million would grant clients access to promising investment opportunities and large cash loans.
To effectuate this scheme, Finn and his co-conspirators gave their victims fake bank documents that showed the company held hundreds of millions of dollars in overseas bank accounts, as well as documents falsely stating that Malom had previously closed similar deals. When Finn’s victims wired their money into an escrow account controlled by Malom, the money was released and disbursed to Finn for his own personal use.
In 2013, Finn and five other men were indicted when the scheme was brought to the FBI’s attention. However, when Finn and two others learned of the indictment, they fled the country. Finn was arrested in Canada in 2014 and extradited back to the United States in 2018. The other two defendants who fled, Martin Schlaepfer and Hans-Jurg Lips, remain at large outside the United States.
Following a five-day trial, Sean Finn was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, four counts of wire fraud and four counts of securities fraud. He was acquitted of one count of wire fraud. Three of his co-conspirators, Anthony Brandel and James Warras, and Joseph Micelli were found guilty of conspiracy and multiple counts of wire fraud and securities fraud following a series of jury trials in 2015. It is estimated that the total fraud scheme equated to losses of approximately $4 million.