Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Texas Lawyer Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Identity Theft Conspiracy

A Houston lawyer was sentenced Friday, December 14, 2012, to 12 months and one day in federal prison, followed by 36 months of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tampa and the U.S. Secret Service's Tampa and Newark, N.J., field offices.

Nicolette Loisel, 56, is the second lawyer to be sentenced in the scheme. On Aug. 9, Roger Shoss, 67, also a Houston lawyer, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, followed by 36 months of home confinement.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, from February 2005 through July 2006, Loisel and Shoss conspired to steal the identities of dormant, publicly-traded companies. They then used the corporate identities they had stolen to create fraudulent, empty-shell companies that had the appearance of being publicly traded.

They subsequently sold the fraudulent empty-shell companies for a profit. The four companies featured in the indictment were Mobilestream Inc., Regaltech Inc., Nanoforce Inc. and Rocky Mountain Gold Mining Inc., which emanated from 3E International Inc., Pacific Chemical Inc., Webgalaxy Inc. and Greensmart Corporation, respectively.

The administrative and money laundering functions of this scheme were headquartered in Pinellas County, Fla. Multiple wire transfers, totaling at least $800,000, were initiated from the Middle District of Florida to Shoss, in payment for the companies. Shoss, in turn, paid Loisel more than $450,000 for her role in the scheme.

"These individuals – both lawyers – conspired to make a profit through a sophisticated investment fraud and money laundering scheme," said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "HSI works closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute con-artists like Loisel and Shoss."

In addition to their prison sentences, Loisel and Shoss are required to pay a final forfeiture money judgment, in the amount of $800,000. This amount represents proceeds obtained by Loisel and Shoss as a result of their criminal activities.

"The U.S. Secret Service and HSI continually strive to enhance our law enforcement partnership by leveraging our respective capabilities, expertise and manpower in support of our distinct law enforcement missions," said John Joyce, U.S. Secret Service's Tampa special agent in charge. "The U.S. Secret Service and HSI will continue to effectively investigate, deter and diminish the threat posed by various types of criminals to our nation's financial infrastructure."

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