Teaneck Scammer Sentenced to Federal Prison in Separate Frauds
Moshe Butler committed scam while on bail in multi-million dollar wire fraud case, prosecutors say.
A 33-year-old Teaneck man was sentenced today to more than five years in prison for scamming a New York City bank and two individuals out of more than $200,000 while free on bail for a separate multi-million dollar swindle, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
Moshe Butler pleaded guilty in April to defrauding Morgan Stanley Smith Barney out of around $37,417 by first opening an investment account with the bank that allowed immediate access to funds deposited by check, according to prosecutors and court papers. Butler first deposited a $50,000 check in the account, but burned through the money on largely failed securities and commodities option contracts.
After losing the $50,000 and an additional $18,921, Butler deposited a $100,000 check from a closed bank account he solely controlled into the Morgan Stanley account to cover the negative balance, according to prosecutors. That account had already been closed because prosecutors said Butler wrote a dozen bad checks.
Butler knew the account was shut down, but took advantage of the Morgan Stanley account's immediate access to funds deposited by check, the government said.
He also admitted to scamming two individuals, identified by the initials D.B. and C.W., out of $107,755 in money and legal services between November 2011 and March 2012, and writing them a series of bad checks.
Butler committed his high-priced bad check scheme while awaiting trial in another fraud he carried out between 2008 and 2009, according to prosecutors. In that scam, he bilked motel and hotel chains out of more than $2.25 million. Federal prosecutors said Butler collected payments for orders of flat panel televisions he partially or never delivered to the hotel industry.
When customers demanded refunds, Butler often sent them bad checks, according to prosecutors.
In addition to prison, Butler was ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in both schemes.
Butler was described in a newspaper article as the founder of a rehab center catering to people of Jewish faith.
"I was leading a double life, and gambling was my mistress," Butler, reportedly a former hedge-fund manager who was in rehab, told the Palm Beach Post.