Friday, March 18, 2016

Vegas resident convicted in nationwide multimillion-dollar Nigerian oil scheme

A Las Vegas resident who served in the U.S. Marines Corps was convicted in federal court Wednesday of defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and investors in a multimillion-dollar Nigerian oil scheme.

Anton Paul Drago, 65 - formerly known as Evan Fogarty - was convicted on all 10 counts of the indictment. He also was found guilty in making false statements to federal agents and failing to file a federal income tax return.

From at least 2004 through 2012, Drago told investors that money they invested would be used for legal fees and business expenses to fund the production, refinement and shipment of crude oil from Nigeria to the Bahamas, according to court documents.

He also claimed that he was an engineer and an expert in the oil industry with over 30 years of experience working worldwide and the grandson of the Shell Oil founder and heir to a $500 million trust that he had already spent on the Nigerian oil investment deal.

"Today's verdict sends a strong message to would-be fraudsters that the Tax Division is committed to not only pursuing defendants who seek to steal from the U.S. Treasury, but also those who take advantage of their fellow citizens through the use of schemes like the one perpetrated by Mr. Drago," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department's Tax Division.

The trial lasted eight days.

U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan set Drago's sentencing for June 14. Drago faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy, 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, five years in prison for making or presenting false claims, 25 years in prison for passing a fictitious financial instrument, 10 years in prison for theft of government funds, five years in prison for making false statements to federal agents and one year in prison for failing to file a federal income tax return.

He also faces mandatory restitution and financial penalties, including more than $2 million in fines as well as the costs of prosecution.

Source: Las Vegas News

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