Target fraud arrests
Shameless Scammers Fleeced Wealthy Seniors They Were Supposed To Be Caring For luchunyu/Shutterstock

Las Vegas resident Justin Costello, 42, who also owned a home in La Jolla, is charged with $35 million fraud following his arrest in San Diego Tuesday night. Costello allegedly told investors he was a hedge fund billionaire, a Harvard MBA, and a special forces veteran who had been wounded twice in Iraq. The federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of swindling thousands of investors and others as part of a complicated scam that promoted his believed-to-be-true efforts to build a cannabis empire, among other things.

One of Costello's companies, Pacific Banking Corp., offered banking services to three marijuana companies. He also used the company to divert at least $3.6 million to himself and some of his firms. Authorities said Costello engaged in a plot that cost more than 7,500 investors about $25 million. They said he made fraudulent claims concerning plans of one of his own companies to purchase 10 other firms. Another 29 investors lost $6 million after they invested directly with Costello based on his fraudulent representations.

CNBC reported that Costello used about $42,000 of the investors’ money for costs associated with his wedding to Katrina Rosseini. A video of the wedding shows a cake and an ice sculpture boasting the James Bond movie logo of the number “007” over a semi-automatic pistol. Also, it shows a belly-dancing performance by Rosseini, who was not charged in the cases against her husband.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a complex scheme that involves shell companies, penny stocks, and financial services for marijuana businesses, Mr. Costello used press releases, securities filings, Twitter, and claims of great wealth to make people believe his fabulous financial success, UPI reported.

The Securities and Exchange Commission performed its own investigation into Costello and charged him and his associate, David Ferraro, for promoting the stock of multiple microchip corporations on social media without revealing their own concurrent stock sales as market prices continue to rise.

A federal arrest warrant for Costello was issued in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington on Sept. 28 after he was charged with 22 counts of wire fraud and three counts of securities fraud. Costello failed to turn himself into the FBI in San Diego on Sept. 29, Fox News reported.

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