New Jersey court to hear case of $1.3mm online gambling fraud.
From July 2012 to December 2017, Mr. Sandy J. Masselli was a very busy man. The CEO of Carlyle Entertainment Ltd (formerly Carlyle Gaming & Entertainment Ltd) worked tirelessly to convince New Jersey investors that his company was worthy of their investment. His hard work paid off, generating over $1.3 million from 26 investors.
According to a press release by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (NJ-DCA), Mr. Masselli is now the primary defendant in a serious case of fraud. Last week, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Bureau of Securities of the NJ-DCA filed suit against Mr. Masselli and his numerous investment firms for allegedly using the investment funds to bankroll an “extravagant lifestyle”.
$1.3 Million Online Gambling Fraud
Masselli is accused of convincing more than two dozen investors that he is a “savvy business”, and that their money would be used to for corporate purposes in the growth of his online gambling businesses. According to the complaint filed on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 in the New Jersey Superior Court, Mr. Masselli misappropriated the funds for personal benefit, spending more than $1.3 million on himself, his family, including his wife Charlene Dunn, a nominal defendant in the case, and Mr. Joseph L. Picco, President of Carlyle Interactive Ltd.
Among the defendant’s alleged misuse of investment funds, the complaint lists:
– $145,000 on personal credit card bills
– $252,000 to law firms, including $93,000 in legal fees for representation in a previous criminal matter
– $68,000 in debit purchases at restaurants, clothing stores, hotels and other personal expenses
– $127,000 to purchase goods and services unrelated to Carlyle Companies
– $17,000 to George Washington University for his son’s college tuition
– $11,000 transferred to the bank account of, or checks payable to, his wife
– $7,700 in checks payable to himself
– $22,000 in checks made payable to “Cash”
– $25,649 in automobile leasing and/or financing for vehicles used by Mr. Masselli
– $70,000 in cash withdrawals
– $8,000 in transfers to accounts controlled by Mr. Picco
– $500,000 in transfers to Mr. Masselli’s personal USAA bank account
No Evidence of Funds Used for Online Gambling Software Company
Prosecutors say they’ve found no evidence that any of the investment funds were actually used towards any of the Carlyle companies.
“This wasn’t a case where defendants diverted a small portion of investor funds for their own use,” said NJ-DCA Acting Director Paul R. Rodriguez. “We allege that nearly every dime the defendants took in from investors was funneled into their own accounts and they helped themselves to the money as if it belonged to them.”
“Masselli held himself out to investors as a savvy businessman with a long and successful track record in the online gambling industry,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Today’s allegations make clear that this was nothing more than a million-dollar fraud, and that Masselli used investors’ hard-earned money to finance his own extravagant lifestyle.”
Grewal confirmed that this is just the latest among a strain of complaints filed by the Bureau of Securities to crack down on investment fraud. Internet gaming software is big business right now, especially in New Jersey, where the iGaming industry is booming, making it all the more susceptible to online gambling fraud. Prosecutors hope to see Masselli and similarly accused individuals pay a heavy price for blatantly defrauding investors.