TRENTON, N.J. – A Somerset County, New Jersey man, today admitted to engaging in a Ponzi scheme targeting elderly investors and to subscribing to a false tax return, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Daniel Rivera, 60, of Hillsborough, New Jersey, a former financial advisor, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of aiding and abetting in the false subscribing to a tax return.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2008 through 2017, Rivera solicited primarily elderly investors to invest their money in a company called Robbins Lane Properties Inc. Rivera represented to investors that Robbins Lane was a company staffed by experienced real estate professionals that invested in real estate ventures. Rivera told investors that by investing in Robbins Lane, senior investors would share in the company’s investment portfolio by lending it money to invest in real estate. Rivera further promised investors that they would receive a guaranteed monthly income, and that the company’s rate of return was based on secure real estate investments in the company’s portfolio. In reality, Robbins Lane had no employees, no real estate portfolio, and the monies used to pay investors as a purported return on their investments was from funds he received from other investors. Rivera also used funds sourced from investors to pay his personal and unrelated business expenses, including paying his child’s college tuition and sorority fees.
During the course of the fraudulent scheme, on March 5, 2014, Rivera filed with the IRS a federal income tax return that underreported his taxable income by $33,276.
The wire fraud count to which Rivera pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential punishment of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross loss or gain caused by the offense. The aiding and abetting in the subscribing to a false tax return count with which Rivera is charged carries a maximum potential punishment of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 21, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark and special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dara Aquila Govan, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Protection Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Andrea Dechenne Bergman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender (Trenton)