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Lawyer in $72M scam faces 10 years in prison, ordered to forfeit luxury house, cars

Joseph Anile II plead guilty last year.

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  • | 4:39 p.m. November 20, 2020
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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SARASOTA — Joseph Anile II, 56, of Sarasota, has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, money laundering and filing a false income tax return.

As part of the sentence, handed down by U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven, the court also entered a money judgment of $3,283,467 — the proceeds of the fraud, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office. Anile was also ordered to forfeit his interest in multiple pieces of property, including a luxury residence in Sarasota, high-end vehicles, currency, gold coins and silver bars, which are traceable to proceeds of the fraud.

Anile plead guilty Sept. 26, 2019.

According to court documents, from November 2011 through April 18, 2019, Anile conspired with others to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Through false and fraudulent representations and material omissions, the conspirators persuaded at least 700 victims to invest more than $72 million in a foreign exchange market (“FOREX”) fraud known as Oasis International Group, the statement says.

Anile, a licensed attorney, created offshore entities, secured broker-dealer licenses, drafted promissory notes and disclosures, monitored incoming wire transactions, directed outgoing wire transactions and interacted with victim-investors to help carry out the scheme, officials contended. The conspirators also developed and administered a “back office” operation — a secure website that falsely and fraudulently depicted account balances and earnings — to convince victim-investors that their principal balances were safe and that their investments were performing, the release adds. 

The conspirators used only a portion of the victim-investors’ funds for FOREX trading, which resulted in catastrophic losses that were concealed, officials alleged. The balance of the victim-investors’ funds, authorities added, were used to make payments toward expenses associated with perpetuating the scheme and to purchase million-dollar residential properties, high-end vehicles, gold, silver and other liquid assets; to fund a lavish lifestyle for the conspirators their family members and friends; and for their personal enrichment. 

Anile used fraud proceeds to purchase other assets, including a Ferrari California T convertible. Anile did not report the victim-investors’ funds he received on his federal income tax returns, according to the statement.

“Make no mistake, white collar criminals absolutely destroy lives," says Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne of IRS Criminal Investigation in the statement. "Joseph Anile disgracefully conspired to orchestrate a scheme that ultimately did just that. Oasis International not only fraudulently depleted the life savings of its investors, many of them seniors, but also caused their victims and families untold mental anguish, emotional distress, and broken trust. These offenses are most heinous, and we are proud to stand with our law enforcement partners to bring these crooks to task.”

The IRS – Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation investigated the case. A related civil action was brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which resulted in, among other actions, the appointment of a receiver.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachelle DesVaux Bedke prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Nebesky handled the forfeiture. 


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