Thursday, October 4, 2007
Former Attorney Charged in Arbitrage Scheme
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Federal prosecutors said yesterday that a former California lawyer currently in custody in Arizona on unrelated fraud charges has been charged with defrauding approximately 100 victims out of more than $19.7 million.
In an information filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, former Woodside resident Mark Forrest Cohn was charged with conspiracy and wire fraud for raising approximately $45 million from investors in his company, Four Star Financial Services, by falsely promising that the money would be placed in "telephone arbitrage" investments.
According to the Web site www.fourstarfraud.com, the scheme included a highly sophisticated scam described as the "Argentina arbitrage transaction," which purportedly involved the sale of long distance telephone arbitrage contracts in Argentina in exchange for CDs issued by an Argentinean bank.
"This case reinforces that fraud doesn't pay," Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Davis told the MetNews. "Through the tireless efforts of FBI and IRS agents, the government is working to bring some measure of justice to the many victims of this fraud."
Cohn, 53, resigned from the State Bar of California on Dec. 25, 2003, after his June 12, 2003 conviction in Maryland on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy arising from a telemarketing scheme that defrauded more than 31,000 consumers of over $3.6 million.
Currently in custody in a halfway house in Arizona as a result of that conviction, he is expected to be furloughed for several days and to transport himself to Los Angeles to make his initial court appearance on Oct. 22.
He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison if convicted.
The case is the result of an investigation by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company