5 MEMBERS OF ROCKLAND COUNTY FAMILY SENTENCED FOR PHONY GOLD MINE SCHEME

NEW YORK - MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JAMES RUSSO, RITA RUSSO, ELIZABETH RUSSO, RUDOLFO RUSSO a/k/a “Rudy”, and THOMAS RUSSO, from New City, Rockland County, New York, were sentenced this week on charges related to their participation, over a period of more than 15 years, in a phony “gold mine” investment scheme and various internet wholesaler schemes. JAMES and RITA RUSSO are husband and wife, and ELIZABETH, RUDOLFO a/k/a “Rudy” and THOMAS RUSSO are their adult children. The sentenced were imposed by United States District Judge STEPHEN C. ROBINSON in White Plains federal court.

According to the criminal Complaint and Indictment and statements made in open court during the defendants’ sentencings, from at least about September 1987 through about September 2005, the RUSSOS operated several different schemes to defraud. First, the RUSSOS victimized a number of people both here in the United States and in Europe by creating a fraudulent investment scheme involving an alleged gold mining operation in Brazil. The RUSSOS induced their victims to give them more than $2 million over the course of the last 18 years by making a number of false and fraudulent misrepresentations, creating false and fraudulent documents, and promising their victims they would receive a percentage of the proceeds when the alleged gold mine was eventually sold.

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