Self-styled online gambling entrepreneur Sandy Masselli and his business associate Joseph Picco are the primary targets of charges filed Tuesday in New Jersey Superior Court by the state Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, and the Bureau of Securities.
The filing claims that the duo bilked investors out of more than $1.3 million in a fraudulent online gambling scheme, and that the money invested in their Carlyle Gaming & Entertainment Ltd company, and its successor company, Carlyle Entertainment, Ltd. was not used as pledged for proper corporate purposes.
The state alleges that Masselli and Picco raised more than $1.3 million from the sale of Carlyle Gaming and Carlyle Ltd. common stock to at least 26 New Jersey investors between July 2012 and December 2017, but that Masselli, used the investor funds for the personal benefit of himself and his family, including his wife Charlene T. Masselli, a.k.a. Charlene Dunn, who is named as a nominal defendant in the Bureau’s complaint.
Masselli instructed investors to direct their investment funds to his related companies, Intercapital Management Ltd., Intercapital Partners Ltd., Intercapital Partners LLC, and Duke and Duke LLC. Masselli controlled the bank accounts that received investor funds, according to the complaint.
The AG seeks restitution for the defrauded investors and penalties against Masselli and other defendants.
The filing alleges Masselli spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal expenses, substantiating the allegation with a detailed list of payments and expenditure that includes cash withdrawals, credit card payments, restaurants and hotel tabs, auto leases, his son’s college tuition, and a $93,000 payment to the law firm that defended him in a prior criminal action.
“Masselli held himself out to investors as a savvy businessman with a long and successful track record in the online gambling industry,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Today’s allegations make clear that this was nothing more than a million-dollar fraud, and that Masselli used investors’ hard-earned money to finance his own extravagant lifestyle. The complaint filed by the Bureau of Securities is simply the latest step in our effort to protect New Jersey’s investors and crack down on financial fraudsters.”
Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, added:
“This wasn’t a case where defendants diverted a small portion of investor funds for their own use, we allege that nearly every dime the defendants took in from investors was funneled into their own accounts and they helped themselves to the money as if it belonged to them. They, like other similarly situated defendants, will now pay the price for living the high life on the backs of defrauded investors.”