Robert Lenard Booth convicted of defrauding investors of nearly $2 million

 

Date: April 27, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

NEW YORK — A man who conspired with others to run a boiler room operation was found guilty Thursday on all counts of a three-count indictment that charged him with defrauding victim investors in countries around the world and laundering the proceeds of the fraud. The verdict followed a six-day jury trial in Manhattan Federal Court before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

According to the indictment and evidence at trial, from at least June 2019 through August 2021, Damian Williams (aka Trevor Nicholas) ran, and conspired with others to run, a boiler room operation that impersonated Manhattan-based brokerage firms and sold investors nearly $2 million in securities that they never received. To deceive investors, Booth and his co-conspirators created fake identities and false and misleading webpages, email addresses, and phone numbers. On phone calls with investors, Booth and others pretended to be licensed brokers, lied, and used high-pressure tactics to pitch stocks for American companies. They followed up by sending the victims false paperwork to confirm the alleged stock purchases and trades.

"Robert Lenard Booth stole his victims' lifesavings and moved the money around the world to hide his elaborate fraud. He thought he could get away with it. Today the jury showed him he was wrong," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams.

The victims were directed to wire payments—sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars—to shell company accounts in New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The funds were laundered and distributed to Booth and his co-conspirators.

Booth was convicted of conspiracies to commit securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense.

Booth spent years operating this scheme from Thailand and Panama. In August 2021, Booth flew from Thailand to JFK International Airport and was arrested upon arrival. Pending trial, Booth resided in Brooklyn, where he lived until his conviction. Judge Rakoff revoked his bail and remanded him following the conviction.

Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Homeland Security Investigations, as well as IRS-CI's partnership with the J5. The J5 works together to gather information, share intelligence and conduct coordinated operations against transnational financial crimes. The J5 includes the Australian Taxation Office, the Canadian Revenue Agency, the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs from the U.K. and IRS-CI from the U.S. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police assisted with this investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office's General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Jones, Jane Y. Chong, and Andrew Thomas are in charge of the prosecution.