YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Fair Lawn scammer was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for running a Ponzi scheme that fleeced investors of more than $2 million that bought a cruise, goodies at Burberry, Gucci and Coach, and a $26,000 gift for her mom.
Photo that Devine used to promote her “business”
The judge also ordered 40-year-old Jenifer Devine to repay $2 million sent by more than 15 investors to her and her paper Carlstadt company.
Part of the attraction apparently was Devine herself, who told the unwitting investors she ran a company that sold “top designer products at trade prices” and used a fetching photo, purportedly of herself, as a come-on.
“Why pay full RRP prices when you can get them up to 75% cheaper through direct trade,” she wrote in her ad. “[I] can supply such names as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Guess, Oakley, Dior, Nine West, Chanel, [L]evis and much more all at trade costs.”
No, she couldn’t, Devine admitted in federal court in September.
“Devine’s wholesale business was wholesale fraud,” U.S. Attorney Paul S. Fishman said. “Victims who were promised huge returns paid the tab for the defendant’s vacation and designer goods. This case reminds investors: Always be wary of a sure thing.”
Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez of the FBI’s Newark Office said Devine played on the “basic human flaw” of greed overriding good judgment by making “grandiose promises” of returns that were virtually impossible to fulfill.
Using a Grand Street address, Devine Wholesale solicited short-term investments from New Jersey and throughout the United States of between 30 and 60 days that promised a quick 25-percent payout, the government alleges.
“Devine also showed some investors fake inventory lists of products she claimed to be reselling,” a statement from Fishman‘s office said.
In reality, “Devine Wholesale had no active wholesale clothing or electronics business… and had virtually no business sales.”
She used new investor funds to make principal and interest payments to existing investors, as well as to fund her own lifestyle, federal prosecutors said. In one instance, she simply wired $10,000 to an investor in New York that she had received from one in New Jersey, they said.
Devine had been free on a $250,000 unsecured bond co-signed by her mom. A federal judge also ordered that she surrender a gun she kept at her house, undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment and have no contact with the victimized investors.
Fishman credited Special Agents of the FBI with making the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew E. Beck of Fishman’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Fishman noted that the case was brought “in coordination with” President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, established to “wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.”
The group includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement.
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