CEO of renewable energy company charged with fraud, impersonation, money laundering and obstruction offenses | USAO-MDPA
SCRANTON — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Intermediate District of Pennsylvania announced that James Abrams, 39, of Easley, South Carolina, was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday for wire and mail fraud, identity theft, money laundering, illegal monetary transactions, obstruction of justice and misrepresentation.
According to U.S. Attorney John C. Gurganus, the indictment alleges that Abrams, the owner and CEO of EthosGen LLC, provided false documents and false information to induce several investors to invest $1,100,000 in his business. Abrams allegedly provided potential investors with false tax returns, false financial records, false contracts with purported EthosGen LLC clients, and a false intellectual property license. False documents and misinformation inflated EthosGen LLC’s revenue, business activity and profitability, making it a more attractive investment. In addition to 19 charges of wire fraud and mail fraud, Abrams also faces five charges of aggravated identity theft, for forging signatures and using other people’s personal information on forged documents, without their permission.
The indictment also alleges that Abrams concealed his scheme by providing false bank account statements and false information to the financial directors and accounting professionals of EthosGen LLC. Abrams is accused of using more than $792,000 of investor money to purchase a personal residence in South Carolina. To conceal his financial activities, Abrams claimed to have laundered $700,000 of the funds through a series of bank accounts under his control, before purchasing the residence. Abrams faces 13 charges of money laundering and illegal financial transactions for his illicit financial activities.
Abrams is also accused of lying to his investors and former CFO that he used the funds to buy the company’s inventory for EthosGen LLC. He allegedly provided investors with falsified corporate reports and accounting records to support his misrepresentations about the use of investment funds.
The indictment further alleges that after learning of the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation of Abrams, he took several steps to obstruct the investigation. Namely, he is accused of creating false accounting documents and records purporting to qualify his embezzlement of investor funds as a shareholder loan, and faces four counts of obstruction of justice. He was additionally charged with seven counts of providing false statements to federal investigators, lying about purchasing inventory for EthosGen LLC, claiming EthosGen LLC owed him $800,000, stating that he had provided his investors with truthful information when they assessed his company in a due diligence. process, and claiming ignorance of the origin of multiple forged contracts he sent to investors.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of funds Abrams obtained from investors during the scheme and the residence he purchased with them in South Carolina.
The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant United States Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo is prosecuting the case.
The maximum penalty under federal law for the most serious offenses is 20 years in prison, a period of supervised release after imprisonment and a fine. Charges of aggravated identity theft carry mandatory minimum consecutive prison sentences of two years. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the judge after consideration of applicable federal sentencing laws and federal sentencing guidelines.
Indictments are only allegations. All accused persons are presumed innocent unless and until found guilty by a court.
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