This week, a judge sentenced a Wisconsin man to more than 10 years in prison after the Justice Department secured an indictment earlier this summer in connection with the orchestration of a Ponzi scheme that included the fraudulent financing and retailing of luxury vehicles involving more than $30 million.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that the Honorable Pamela Pepper sentenced Albert Golant of Wales, Wisc., to 126 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit tax fraud.
The court deferred the imposition of a restitution order at this time, according to a news release.
Over the course of several years and while he was on federal supervised release for a prior fraud conviction, the Justice Department said Golant orchestrated a sophisticated Ponzi scheme through which he obtained more than $30 million from at least 40 different victims. Golant was in the business of purchasing luxury vehicles in the United States and then selling them at a substantial profit to foreign buyers overseas, typically in China.
Officials explained Golant engaged in a long-term fraud scheme in which Golant obtained the funds from third parties by representing that the funds would be used to purchase specific luxury vehicles. The third parties included vehicle brokers, investors and lenders.
In some instances, the Justice Department said Golant never purchased the specific vehicle and did not return the funds. In other instances, officials said Golant purported to sell the same luxury vehicle to multiple clients at the same time. In still other instances, DOJ indicated Golant obtained funds from investors, lenders, or clients for the purchase of luxury vehicles he knew had already been sold and exported.
To carry out the scheme, the Justice Department said Golant made numerous misrepresentations, including preparing multiple fraudulent financing applications to obtain financing for vehicles he knew had previously been exported.
Through the scheme, DOJ found Golant obtained at least $30 million from at least 40 different victims. Officials said he used the funds to support his lavish lifestyle and maintain his wealthy image — including flying across the country in private jets to engage in high-stakes gambling at exclusive casinos and living in a 10,000-square-foot home that was rented for $7,500 a month.
Golant also used the funds to pay off gambling debts and to pay professional gamblers to gamble on his behalf. In addition, Golant used the funds to attempt to sustain his luxury vehicle export businesses by using client funds to pay off prior loans, and using one client’s funds to satisfy obligations due to his other clients.
In the end, the Justice Department calculated Golant’s scheme left at least 22 victims with a net loss of approximately $17.7 million and the United States with a tax loss of approximately $5.4 million.
“Fueled by greed, Golant carried out an outrageous fraud scheme that harmed victims around the globe,” Krueger said. “The United States is fully committed to prosecuting financial crimes.
“This case proves the point: The IRS-Criminal Investigation Division showed extraordinary tenacity in cutting through Golant’s web of lies and bringing him to justice,” he continued.
IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office Kathy Enstrom added her perspective about the matter.
“Today’s sentencing of Albert Golant again emphasizes the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who use fraudulent methods in an attempt to commit tax fraud and wire fraud,” Enstrom said.
“Honest taxpayers have been reassured today that no one is above the law — especially when the integrity of tax administration is at stake,” she went on to say.