Jig Is Up, FBI Tells Five in Las Vegas

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Five Las Vegas men face decades in federal prison in an indictment accusing them of defrauding small business owners of $2.5 million by promising to help them secure grants that never materialized.
     The U.S. attorney called it a typical advance-fee scheme, “perpetrated for the sole purpose of ripping off unsuspecting victims to enrich greedy fraudsters.”
     Arrested Thursday were Pierre Franco-Ramos, 33, of Las Vegas; and Victor Vazquez, 31, of Henderson.
     Not yet in custody are Danny Goodman, 68, of Las Vegas; Andre Jackson, 43, of North Las Vegas; and Ronald Defusco, 48, of Johnston, R.I.
     All five are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.
     Franco-Ramos and Vazquez also are charged with eight counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud; Goodman is charged with four counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud; Defusco is charged with one count of mail fraud; and Jackson is charged with one count of wire fraud. Each crime is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
     From about 2009 to February 2012, the men persuaded business owners to pay them more than $2.5 million for help with business plans, Web services, nonprofit status and grant funding, the U.S. attorney said. The FBI and U.S. attorney said the men switched to different business names and locations when clients complained to law enforcement.

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