Michael R. Casey, 71, a fugitive for over four years, was sentenced to a total of 234 months in prison for his participation in a $21 million investment fraud scheme and for failing to appear in court.

Casey previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 (Case No. 12-20630-Cr-Lenard). He also previously pleaded guilty to failing to appear in court in 2014 (Case No. 14-20619-Cr-Moreno). Casey was sentenced to 210 months in prison for the conspiracy and 24 months in prison for failing to appear in court, the sentences to run consecutively, by Chief U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. The Court also ordered Casey to pay $18,919,995 in restitution to the fraud victims, and ordered Casey to forfeit $269,598.

Photo/Robinraj Premchand

According to the court record, Casey, originally of Fort Lauderdale, and co-defendants James C. Howard, III, of Parkland, Patricia S. Saa of Tampa, and Louis N. Gallo, III, of Parkland, defrauded individuals who invested in Commodities Online LLC (COL). From approximately January 2010 through April 2011, Casey and his co-conspirators used material false and fraudulent representations and material omissions to obtain over $21 million from over 770 investors.

During the time COL was operating, COL paid about $3 million to investors using funds paid by later investors. The investors lost approximately $18,919,995.

On August 30, 2012, Casey was charged by indictment, along with Howard, Saa, and Gallo, with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and several counts of mail and wire fraud. Howard, Saa, Gallo, and another defendant, Rita Balbirer, were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and various counts of money laundering.

In April of 2014, Casey failed to appear at a status hearing while pending trial. In August of 2014, Casey was indicted for bond jumping.

In September 2013, Howard pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. In December 2013, Howard was sentenced to 189 months in prison.

In August of 2014, Gallo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. In October of 2014, Gallo was sentenced to 168 months in prison.

In July of 2014, Balbirer pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering. In September of 2015, Balbirer was sentenced to 17 months in prison.

In addition, other co-conspirators in the COL fraud scheme were charged separately with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. In November 2013, three defendants pleaded guilty for their involvement in the scheme. In February 2015, Timothy Josselson was sentenced to 38 months in prison (Case No. 13-20730-Cr-Altonaga). In February 2015, Kathryn Josselson was sentenced to 36 months in prison (Case No. 13-20731-Cr-Moore). In March 2015, Robert Lananna was sentenced to 40 months in prison ( Case No. 13-20732-Cr-Ungaro).

Co-defendant Patricia Saa left the United States in 2010 while the fraud scheme was still underway. She remains a fugitive.

This case was investigated by the FBI and USMS and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.