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Financial Crimes

3 members of Honolulu investment group sentenced for defrauding investors

Ponzi scheme cost victims more than $1.6 million

HONOLULU – Three men who led a Ponzi-style scheme that defrauded investors of more than $1.6 million were sentenced in federal court Thursday, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Syed Qadri, 39, Ruben Carrillo Gonzalez, 50, and Jeffrey Greenhut, 40, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi to 51 months, 41 months and 24 months in federal prison, respectively. The trio, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in September 2010, were also ordered to pay restitution to the victims of the scheme.

In addition to the defendants, Qadri's wife, Patricia Roszkowski, 48, was also sentenced to one month in prison for filing a fraudulent credit application with a local bank as part of the scheme.

According to court documents, the three men schemed to defraud investors through two Honolulu companies, Amasse Capital, LLC, and Solomon & Co., LLC. The trio operated a Ponzi-style scheme in which the companies purportedly invested in high yield bonds that exposed investors' principal to minimal risk, when, in reality, the investments were used to pay back earlier investors, with the remainder of funds converted to Qadri's personal use. The net loss to victims as a result of the scheme was more than $1.6 million.

Qadri, who led the fraud scheme, served as Amasse Capital's president and chief executive officer. He and Roszkowski lived in a luxurious Kahala residence, purchased several expensive cars and leased an entire floor in a downtown office building. Gonzalez served as Amasse Capital's senior vice president of marketing and was responsible for soliciting investors. Greenhut, Amasse Capital's chief operating officer, managed investor funds.

Amasse Capital was marketed as an investment firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company's prospectus listed the defendants as management and members of the board of directors and made false claims about the experience of the defendants in order to induce investment. Additionally, the prospectus contained false statements about the business activity, capability and financial stability of the company. Qadri and Gonzalez claimed that the companies could return 100 to 400 percent monthly interest on investments.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Thomas and Ronald Johnson of the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii.