White collar criminals beware, the U.S. Attorney’s Office isn’t playing around with investment scammers.
That was proven on Tuesday with the sentencing of Chelsea investment advisor, and former Planning Board member, Gary Martel to more than 7 years in federal prison and $6.5 million in restitution and forfeiture payments. The news came just weeks after another high-profile federal Chelsea case dealing with fraud – that of Michael McLaughlin – drew attention for the small penalties spelled out in a plea deal given by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, penalties that could result in no jail time for the disgraced housing chief if he cooperates to the max.
Tuesday’s sentencing brought out numerous victims, all of whom detailed how they’d been deceived by Martel’s purported investment in Facebook stock – an investment that turned out to be a shell game. Martel had operated an investment office in Chelsea for some time, handing clients locally and out of state. He had been a man about town as well, serving with distinction on the Planning Board and owning one of the more impressive old homes on Washington Avenue (a home that was forfeited and has now been turned into condos by a developer).
Martel’s actions ruined the lives of many, as detailed in court Tuesday.
Last November, he agreed to plead guilty to three counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Investigators believe he bilked his “investors” out of a total of $3.236 million – none of which was going towards any of the purported investments he was touting to clients.
He was ordered to forfeit that money, and then also repay $3.274 million.
Officially, Judge Dennis Saylor IV sentenced him to 87 months in jail followed by three years of probation.
In 2009, a New York Federal Court judge sentenced Bernie Madoff to 150 years in prison for his role in a much higher-profile and much larger scale – though similar – Ponzi scheme.