Ali Rameh Bazzi pled guilty Tuesday to a massive investment fraud scheme involving 30 people and approximately $500,000. The guilty plea included wire fraud and money laundering charges as part of the investment scheme.
According to Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin, the Dearborn man “told his victims that he was investing their money in foreign exchange and commodity markets.” Instead, Ali Rameh Bazzi was lying to the victims, stealing nearly half a million dollars.
Mohsin said Bazzi used the investment funds “to line his own pockets, and lied to his victims over and over again in order to sustain his fraud.” The investment scheme involved around 30 potential investors, some of them elders, who believed their money was being used in overseas ventures. Mohsin said that Bazzi’s guilty plea was part of her office’s “commitment to hold accountable all those who fleece the public for personal gain.”
Ali Rameh Bazzi lives in Dearborn, Mich., according to a cease and desist order. He was “an organizer of and promoter for Welther Oaks, LLC, a Michigan-organized limited liability company,” the order said. The Bureau investigated Bazzi’s investment scheme after receiving a complaint from one of the alleged victims. The investigation uncovered that Bazzi “Offered multiple Welther Oaks, LLC investment contract securities to California investors.”
Bazzi claimed that the investments were part of his company’s ventures and that the funds were being used to trade in foreign currency exchange and precious metals. He said the profits would be shared among himself and the investors. Those investment contracts, however, “were not registered under the Securities Act,” the cease and desist claimed. It also found that Bazzi lied to the investors and that the truth would have held considerable weight in their decision-making process.
Ali Rameh Bazzi also told investors that they would be able to withdraw their investments after one month of trading but later refused to withdraw when investors made the request. The 26-year-old man has since been charged with defrauding about $500,000 from investors in his company. It was later discovered that Bazzi owned and operated Welther Oaks, LLC in Dearborn and that he used the business to solicit investments from various people around the United States.
He lied, telling those investors that they would earn high rates of return, forging trading agreements and other materials to convince prospective investors to fork up funds. The plea documents say that there were around 30 victims of Bazzi’s investment scheme, which it says ran from March 2018 to March 2020. Despite telling the investors that he was trading their money in foreign markets, Bazzi was really using the money for his own personal gain.
Ali Rameh Bazzi used the money to buy sports cars, expensive jewelry, and pay bills, the plea document alleged. He then provided investors with falsified investment account statements to conceal the investment scheme. His sentencing is set to be held on November 30, at 4:00 p.m., according to reports. United States District Judge David M. Lawson will preside.
Speaking about the risks of “too good to be true scams” and other fraudulent investment schemes, Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI said that “seniors are a particularly vulnerable group.” He claimed they “are often specifically targeted for financial fraud crimes, the FBI and our law enforcement partners have prioritized our efforts to address elder fraud.”
He continued, encouraging “anyone who believes they are a victim of fraud or know a senior who may be, regardless of financial loss, to immediately report the incident to the FBI or another law enforcement agency.” In coming forward, those people are potentially helping take down expansive operations such as Ali Rameh Bazzi’s scheme.
Special Agent in Charge Brian Thomas of the IRS-Criminal Investigations unit pointed out that “investment fraud schemes that entice investors with the false promise of significantly larger than average returns often result in the entire loss of investment.” He added that his department is “committed to investigating the ‘too good to be true’ investment scams.”