Parkland man pleads guilty in $21 million gaming app investment scheme – InsuranceNewsNet

five out of six South Florida Residents who were charged with defrauding millions of investors by claiming the money would develop a mobile gambling app have now pleaded guilty.

Wednesday, Paul Geraci45 years old, from Park, became the fifth defendant in the investment scheme to plead guilty. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and now faces a maximum possible prison sentence of 20 years.

The scheme centered on a company called Social Voucher, created in 2013 by the co-defendants Gerald Parker73 years old, from Juno Beachand Michael Absence44 years old, from Boca Raton, to develop an online gambling and shopping application, according to court records. Social Voucher was supposed to make money from users who purchased products while using the app, according to court records.

Parker, as CEO of Social Voucher, hired Geraci in 2013 as a salesperson to solicit investment. Geraci owned and operated Pinnacle Atlantic, a call center used to fraudulently sell Social Voucher stock, according to court records.

Parker also hired co-defendants Ted Romeo; Cindy Vandivier64 years old, from West palm beachand her husband Paul Vandivier, 61, to solicit investments via telemarketing, records show. They told investors the app would be worth more $1 billion and was in his last test game, according to court records.

Of June 2013 at November 2018Geraci and his co-accused spoke $21 million investors, but the gambling app never generated any revenue or profit, according to court records.

Of the investor money that Geraci collected through his call center, Parker paid him a 50% bribe, according to court records. Geraci then paid Romeo some of Parker’s bribes and commissions.

Geraci admitted to paying Romeo cash to sell shares of Social Voucher, although he knew Romeo had a civil judgment against him alleging he had previously fraudulently solicited investors, prosecutors say.

Romeo, Parker, Assenza and the Vandiviers have all previously been sued for fraud and ordered to pay the victims of their past schemes, according to court records.

The social bond stock was not registered with federal or state regulators, a fact Geraci also admitted knowing. Cease and desist orders in four states, including Floridabanned the sale of Social Voucher shares, but despite the orders, the defendants continued to sell to investors, according to court records.

Prosecutors said Geraci was recorded presenting shares of social bonds to an undercover FBI agent posing as a potential investor. In the recording, Geraci said the investment would be “all for programming and software and so on.”

The FBI agent gave $50,000 in secret money, prosecutors said, and half went to Geraci. He was also recorded paying bribes to a Starbucks in Boca Raton to a man he knew had a federal fraud indictment in Detroit.

The FBI searched Social Voucher’s South Florida office in June 2018 and investors sued the company, prosecutors said.

Assenza pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 52 months in prison last week. Romeo, who worked for Geraci, will be sentenced later this month, prosecutors said.

Paul and Cindy Vandivier will be sentenced on October 7. Parker’s trial is scheduled for September 27.

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