George Sepero, 40, was indicted last year and entered a guilty plea in March to charges of wire fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion. He has been in federal custody since July 2012 for violating the conditions of a supervised release.
For three years, Sepero claimed to operate hedge funds with Carmelo Provenzano, 31, of Garfield and Daniel Dragan, 43, of Lebanon, NJ. Victims were told that through a secret, advanced computer algorithm, their money would see a 170 percent return on investments in foreign currency.
Instead, federal authorities found, the trio ran up monthly credit card bills of $25,000, bar tabs totaling as much as $18,000 and a $14,000 excursion to a Hollywood nightclub. The fraud totaled more than $3.5 million, Fishman said.
Provenzano and Dragan have also pleaded guilty to the charges and are awaiting sentencing.
In a separate incident, Sepero
took control of the annuity fund of an elderly, paraplegic widow after being
fired in 2006 from the financial institution that managed her account. In calls to his former employer, he impersonated the woman's deceased husband, and sent the family a
fabricated statement showing $700,000 still in the account.
But the woman’s savings had been drained of all but $16, the balance going toward Sepero’s mortgage, car and credit card bills.
“George Sepero stole millions in a Ponzi scheme and perpetrated a monstrous fraud on an elderly woman who was the definition of vulnerable,” Fishman said. “Blowing fortunes of other people’s money, he continued to commit scam after scam until he was locked up. It is fair that he spend his next years away from the society he victimized.”
In addition to the 100 months in prison passed down Friday, Sepero was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay nearly $5 million in restitution.