PHILADELPHIA - William Bucci, 59, of Philadelphia, PA, pleaded guilty today to one count of securities fraud, four counts of mail fraud, one count of mortgage fraud, and pleaded nolo contendere to five counts of subscribing a false tax return. U.S. District Court Judge Joel H. Slomsky scheduled a sentencing hearing for November 17, 2016.
Beginning as early as 2004, Bucci, a licensed stockbroker at the time, falsely represented to several brokerage clients that he was starting a business to import high end olive oil and wine from Italy. As a result of defendant’s representations, the clients and others invested approximately $1,284,000. Bucci never had an olive oil and wine business. Instead of investing the money, Bucci spent it on his own expenses.
Between 2004 and 2012, the defendant induced others to loan him money based on representations that he would put it toward a down payment on the purchase of real estate on the New Jersey shore and would repay it with significant interest. Instead, Bucci used the victims’ money for his own purposes, including to pay off his extensive credit card debt and to pay earlier victims.
Bucci obtained a $480,000 loan in 2011 from Beneficial Mutual Savings Bank, an FDIC insured institution, to purchase real estate in Brigantine, New Jersey. After obtaining the loan, the defendant fell behind on his payments. In negotiations with the bank, the defendant provided Beneficial with a false financial statement omitting significant liabilities. The defendant provided the document to bank employees in an attempt to deceive them about his ability to pay back the loan and thereby increase the chance that the bank would enter into a forbearance agreement with him.
As a result of his fraud schemes, Bucci obtained approximately $2.9 million between 2007 and 2011. Bucci did not report any of the money he took from the scheme on his tax returns for those tax years.
Bucci faces a statutory maximum sentence of 145 years in prison, restitution of up to $3.2 million, a possible fine, and up to three years of supervised release, and a $1,100 special assessment when sentenced.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Ignall and Trial Attorney Derek J. Ettinger with the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.