Placer County woman sentenced for an investment fraud scheme that targeted investors in failed Folsom Ponzi scheme

 

Date: December 20, 2019

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kari Sonovich, of Meadow Vista, was sentenced today to two years and three months in prison for an investment fraud scheme.

On Jan. 31, 2014, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment, charging Sonovich with mail fraud. According to court documents, between July 2008 and April 2009, Sonovich recruited investors to invest with her Las Vegas company, B&B Consulting Group LLC, by telling them that she could place their funds with an international trader who operated at an extremely high level, promising returns of up to 500% every 90 days. When investors deposited funds with her, Sonovich kept $454,000 of the funds for herself, even though she told the investors that all of their funds would be invested. No investor ever received the promised returns, and in most or all instances, no investor received any of their initial investment back.

Some investors in Sonovich's scheme became involved at the same time that an earlier investment fraud scheme in which they had invested was collapsing. Anthony Vassallo, 40, and Kenneth Kenitzer, 76, ran that Folsom-based Ponzi scheme through their company Equity Investment Management & Trading (EIMT). Both were convicted for that scheme, Vassallo is serving a 16‑year prison sentence and Kenitzer was sentenced to 6 years in prison was released on July 5, 2019.

"The role of IRS - Criminal Investigation becomes even more important in Ponzi schemes and fraud cases due to the complex financial transactions that can take time to unravel," said Kareem Carter, IRS - CI Special Agent in Charge, Oakland Field Office. "The scheme targeted by Sonovich was conducted in a way that her victims suffered substantial financial losses. Today's sentencing emphasizes the partnership between IRS and the U.S. Attorney's Office and the pursuit of those who violate these types of federal laws."

This case was the product of an investigation by IRS - Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Thuesen and Audrey B. Hemesath prosecuted the case.