US investors robbed by man posing as relative of Jamaican businessman
A conman, who was based in Manhattan in the United States, was able to fleece several Americans out of hundreds of thousands of dollars after convincing them that he was an investment banker and was related to a well known Jamaican businessman.
Reports from the New York Post are that the man, identified as Ian Mitchell, 31, used the alias Ian Matalon when targetting his victims.
Police said as part of his illegal scheme the man claimed that he was a relative of Jamaican businessman, Joseph Matalon.
Mitchell has been sentenced to a year in prison. But, he faces additional time behind bars as investigations are ongoing.
On August 16, 2017, Mitchell, who passed himself off as an investment banker, was arrested for grand larceny and released on $100,000 bond. He later pleaded guilty and was awaiting sentencing.
Less than a year later, he was indicted in Manhattan on grand-larceny charges for a similar offence. He pleaded guilty in that case and agreed to pay full restitution in a no-jail plea deal. But, while free on bail Mitchell allegedly swindled two other investors in his fake schemes out of more than $100,000.
Because he violated the terms of his plea deal, he was sent to prison.
His lawyer, Todd Spodek, said, “Mr. Mitchell has taken responsibility and has tried to make good on his financial commitments.”
According to reports, after lying about his connection to the Matalons, Mitchell was able to “scam a slew of investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, including through a scheme involving a Columbus Circle boutique hotel.”
“He was good at what he did. He painted the picture well. What can I say? He got me,” said Brett Steigh, 44, a restaurateur in Rolling Hills, California, who gave Mitchell $44,000 to invest in January 2018.
“He would tell stories about how he was buying a $15 million house,” said Steigh, whose ex-girlfriend lived in The Continental, a luxury midtown high-rise where Mitchell also lived.
In 2015, the dapper crook allegedly told three victims, including an Air Force veteran, that they could have an ownership interest in a new bar at the Hudson Hotel on West 58th Street if they put up $33,000 for a liquor licence.
But Mitchell had no connection to any of the bars at the swank hotel and blew the cash on personal expenses, according to Manhattan prosecutors.
The veteran, who asked that his name be withheld, handed over $15,000, the bulk of his life savings.
“He’s a con man. He’s friendly and, you know, an a- -….e,” said the 35-year-old, who met Mitchell through a friend who also lost thousands of dollars.
Mitchell’s most lucrative target was businessman Humberto Romero, of Yellowstone Medical Management Inc., whom authorities said he bilked out of more than $158,000 starting in 2016.
Mitchell told Romero that he ran a multimillion-dollar hedge fund called INC Capital and promised him a handsome return if he invested in the bogus company and other ventures.
“Ian discussed many times when we were together that he had clients that invested in the millions,” Romero, 45, wrote in an affidavit. “He was very persuasive.”
When Romero tried to pull out his money, Mitchell went dark. A background check revealed his real name and that the hedge fund never existed, so Romero called the cops.
Suffolk County prosecutors said Mitchell spent Romero’s cash on student loans, credit cards, gym fees and a car lease.