A hot-shot internet businessman Mouli “Samuel” Cohen is going to spend 22 years in prison for a fraud scheme that cheated more than 50 investors of $30 million, including the likes of actor Danny Glover. Most of the victims were affiliated with the Vanguard Public Foundation, a former San Francisco non-profit founded in 1972 to make grants to progressive, grass roots organizations. Vanguard was bankrupted by the scheme.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer sentenced Cohen to 22 years in prison Monday following his November conviction on 15 counts of wire fraud, 1 counts of money laundering and three charges of tax evasion.
Cohen, 54, of Belvedere, Calif., lied to prospective investors by telling them his company, Ecast, Inc. was about to be acquired by Microsoft and convincing them to buy shares in his company, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.
He said the investment would give them the opportunity to make substantial contributions to the profits of Vanguard to support its projects.
Later he told investors that European Union regulators and U.S. regulators were delaying approval of the acquisition and he needed more money for fees and other payments.
Over a period of three years investors poured millions into Cohen’s company based on the nonexistent acquisition of Ecast.
Cohen actually used the money for an extravagant personal lifestyle, incliding $6 million on private jet rentals, jewelry, a Rolls Royce, an Aston Martin, luxury vacations to Europe and $15,000 a month to rent the four-story luxury home in Belvedere.
Breyer also ordered a $31.4 million judgment against Cohen and a $25,000 fine.
He remains in custody.
Case: U.S. v. Cohen, No. CR10-547CRB