Palm Beach Resident, James Cleary Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
Miami, FL (STL.News) Fifty-year old Palm Beach County resident James Cleary pled guilty on Friday, August 6 to participating in a fraud scheme that bilked investors out of more than $393,500.
During Friday’s hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart in West Palm Beach, Cleary admitted his role in the scheme, which ran from 2015 to 2019. This included making baseless promises to would-be investors about the profitability of NIT Enterprises, a Palm Beach company that falsely marketed itself as being on the cusp of developing and producing radiation protective materials using an innovative technology.
Cleary, who was not a licensed securities sales agent, also admitted to lying to investors by telling them that NIT was on the verge of making an initial public offering of stock. This created a false expectation that investors would double or triple their investments in a short amount of time. In fact, there was no IPO on the horizon for NIT. Cleary admitted that he reached most of his victims through cold calls and that he personally profited from the investor funds.
Cleary pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who sits in Fort Pierce, Florida, will sentence Cleary on a date to be announced. Cleary faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
As to the other defendants named in the information, the charges are mere allegations. Those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a parallel civil enforcement action against Cleary and others related to this activity.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami, and Russell C. Weigel, III, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), announced the guilty plea.
FBI Miami and OFR investigated this matter. SEC Miami Regional Office assisted. Assistant U. S. Attorney Lothrop Morris is prosecuting this case.