If Brazil’s Federal Police wish to ask him about TelexFree’s involvement in wire fraud and an underlying conspiracy, James Merrill is required to provide a “complete and truthful proffer,” according to the terms of his plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors in Massachusetts.
Merrill, 55, of Ashland, Mass., also is required to cooperate with U.S. agencies that have questions about the fraud, according to the agreement. The agreement ultimately may pit Merrill against Carlos Wanzeler, a TelexFree co-founder charged with wire fraud and conspiracy in the United States.
U.S. prosecutors say Wanzeler fled to Brazil after TelexFree’s massive Ponzi- and pyramid scheme was exposed in April 2014. Brazil’s Federal Police continue to investigate TelexFree and an affiliate known as Ympactus in that country. The Brazilian probe also involves TelexFree figure Carlos Costa.
U.S. prosecutors said yesterday that Brazilian Federal Police had provided “valuable assistance” in the U.S. probe. The office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz also lauded U.S. agencies and the Massachusetts Securities Division, the state-level regulator.
Under the plea agreement, Merrill would receive prison time of no more than 10 years. Eight counts of money-laundering would be dismissed.
“Merrill also agreed to forfeit approximately $140 million, numerous real estate properties, luxury vehicles and boats,” U.S. prosecutors said.
In the agreement, Merrill said the deal was in his best interests and that “I am guilty of the offenses to which I am pleading guilty.”
The agreement noted Merrill had rejected plea offers made earlier. Merrill, who potentially could have faced decades in prison, was defended by Robert M. Goldstein.
Merrill pleaded guilty yesterday to eight counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Feb. 2.
Note: Thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.