Articles Tagged with counterfeit

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A federal investigation of a company in Irvine that offers financial and insurance services has led to charges for three executives of the firm who have allegedly been found to have stolen investments totaling over $4 million from several elderly clients.

50-year-old Mehmet Fatih Biyikoglu is the CEO and founder of Five Star Financial Services, LLC, a financial management and insurance firm in Orange County. 58-year-old Anna Marie Holt serves as the company’s president and chief operating officer, and Ida Shaghoian, 38, was a sales agent who was also once married to Biyikoglu.

The company practices have been under investigation that has led to accusations against Biyikoglu, Holt, and Shaghoian purporting that between 2014 and 2015 they recruited clients, typically elderly people, and assured them that if they invested into certificates of deposit they would earn significant returns. Instead of taking the clients’ money and putting it into a JP Morgan Chase Bank CD account as promised, the suspects have been accused of taking over $4 million in investments and using the cash for personal items such as real estate, jewelry, and expensive automobiles.

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Louisville resident Kingsley I. Ekpendu has been accused of targeting elderly people using a hoax consisting of telling them they had won cash prizes in a sweepstakes. He allegedly extorted money from the assumed winners after sending them counterfeit checks to deposit into their bank accounts. He then asked that they overnight money to a specified address. It is suspected that he was able to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from people in this manner.

Police stated that between September 2 and October 4 Ekpendu allegedly mailed letters to three or more addresses announcing they were winners of the Publishers Clearing House Super Cash Giveaway. The letters held fraudulent checks for amounts between $6,000 and $8,000, and instructions to deposit the check and overnight mail an amount ranging from $5,200 to $7,000 in order to claim their winnings.

Law enforcement received information from a local shipping company who became suspicious of the number and size of the packages being delivered to an address that appeared to be a vacant dwelling. Ekpendu received the first two of the three packages, and police intervened before he was able to get the third.

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36-year-old Jessica Godoy Ramos has been accused of posing as an immigration attorney and representing several immigrants seeking legal citizenship status, charging thousands of dollars for services she never provided. Ramos allegedly assumed the identity of a New York lawyer with a similar name and stole her bar license number allowing her to work undetected for several years.

A criminal complaint against Ramos claims her clients believed she was a legitimate lawyer until many of them showed up for appointments at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that were never scheduled. Though Ramos filed immigration petitions in some cases, it is alleged that she performed no tasks for some of the clients she billed. In addition, she allegedly issued counterfeit immigration parole documents with which a client was able to enter the U.S.

In February Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) received information from the USCIS concerning five individuals represented by Ramos who tried to pick up green cards that did not exist, resulting in the decision to open an investigation.