Former Malibu resident pleads guilty to bilking investors out of 3 million dollars with false promises of discounted, pre-IPO shares of Alibaba


Date: July 3, 2023


A former Malibu resident who defrauded several individuals out of more than $3 million with bogus claims he had access to stock shares of Alibaba prior to its initial public offering has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, the Justice Department announced today.

Frank Harold Rosenthal, who currently resides in New York City, pleaded guilty Friday before United States District Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha.

Rosenthal admitted making false claims of having inside connections at Goldman Sachs that would provide him with special access to purchase discounted shares of Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, before its initial public offering.

Rosenthal carried out his scheme through a middleman, David Kunkle, by making fraudulent representations and pressuring Kunkle to solicit funds from his relatives and acquaintances for the purportedly lucrative investment opportunity.

To lend legitimacy to his fraudulent scheme, Rosenthal negotiated and drafted loan agreements and promissory notes with the victims that promised the victims significant returns on their loans and investments.

After obtaining their money, Rosenthal lulled his victims by, among ways, falsely stating that Alibaba shares had been purchased and sold. Rosenthal paid his earlier victims with money from later victims' funds.

Instead of using victims' funds to purchase shares of Alibaba, Rosenthal used the money to support his lavish lifestyle, which included the $16,000 monthly rent of a Malibu home.

Judge Aenlle-Rocha has scheduled a sentencing hearing on October 13, at which time Rosenthal will face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison, as well as restitution.

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter.

Trial Attorney Sara Henderson of U.S. Department of Justice's Tax Division and Assistant United States Attorneys Steven M. Arkow and Mark Aveis of the Major Frauds Section are prosecuting this case.