Former Rochester man charged in multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme

 

Date: January 27, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

ROCHESTER, N.Y.- Christopher Parris currently of Atlanta, GA, formerly of Rochester, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. The charges carry maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Parris and his partner, Perry Santillo, doing business as Lucian Development, headquartered in Rochester, NY, operated an investment fraud Ponzi scheme from approximately January 2012 to June 2018. The Ponzi scheme defrauded approximately 1000 investors out of at least $115,500,000.

The investment offerings pitched by Parris and Santillo consisted principally of unsecured promissory notes and preferred stock issued by various entities that they controlled. Potential investors were offered an array of investment options to create the illusion of a diversified investment portfolio. Those investment options included products issued by purported issuers such as First Nationle Solutions (FNS), Percipience Global Corporation, United RL Capital Services, Boyles America, Middlebury Development Corporation, and NexMedical Solutions, among others. None of those issuers had substantial bona fide business operations or used investor money in the manner and for the purposes represented to investors. To the extent that an issuer may have had some minor legitimate business activities, it was not profitable and insufficient revenues were generated to pay investors any returns (let alone return the principal amounts of their investments).

Over the years, to keep the Ponzi scheme from being detected, a substantial portion of incoming new investor monies were depleted by making promised interest and other payments to earlier investors. Most of the rest of incoming investor money was used to finance lavish lifestyles of the conspirators, their families and associates; to expand the scheme by purchasing investment advisor/brokerage businesses to obtain access to fresh investors; and to pay operating expenses – salaries for a sales force and administrative staff, office rents and related expenses, housing for employees, and interest on loans—all of which were in furtherance of keeping the scheme going and maintaining a façade of legitimate business operations.

The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson and was released pending further proceedings.

Perry Santillo previously pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme and is awaiting sentencing.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge; the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the Boston Division; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Buffalo Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert, and FBI Scranton Division; the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations – Labor Racketeering and Fraud, under the direction of Michael C. Mikulka, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Region; the New York State Department of Financial Services, under the direction of Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell; and the Securities and Exchange Commission.