|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced that four individuals have been charged in connection with two separate schemes in which investors allegedly were defrauded of a total of $350,000 that they invested in purported medical ventures.
Each of the following four defendants was charged with conspiracy, theft by deception and money laundering, all in the second-degree:
- Joseph Denti Jr., 56, of Wyckoff, N.J.,
- Heidi Francavilla, 58, of Park Ridge, N.J.,
- Joseph Giardina, 55, of Waccabuc, N.Y., and
- Ralph Perricelli Jr., 55, of Ridgewood, N.J.
Denti and Giardina were arrested yesterday on warrants by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice. Francavilla and Perricelli were charged by complaint-summons. The charges stem from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crimes Bureau. Francavilla was arrested on Sept. 2, 2015 in a separate case filed by the Attorney General’s Office in which she and five other defendants, including George Bussanich Sr., 58, of Park Ridge, and his son George Bussanich Jr., were charged with first-degree racketeering and money laundering for allegedly defrauding 15 investors of approximately $3 million through the sale of bogus investments. Those charges are pending.
In the first scheme charged in the new case, Denti, Giardina and Francavilla allegedly stole $250,000 from a doctor by convincing him to advance that amount for a bogus investment involving a surgical center. They allegedly diverted his funds for their personal benefit. In the second scheme, Perricelli and Denti allegedly convinced a married couple to invest $100,000 in a blood-testing laboratory by falsely claiming to be joint owners of the lab. The couple’s money allegedly was diverted to Denti, Perricelli and Francavilla. It is further alleged that Denti and Perricelli laundered money using the bank account of another blood laboratory, which formerly was owned by Perricelli but which he sold. Several shell companies created by Francavilla, including Medical Billing and Management, LLC, and HF Management Consultant, also allegedly were used by the defendants to launder money.
“These defendants convinced their victims that they had the inside track on great investments in the health care industry, but we allege that they’re really nothing but hustlers and con artists,” said Acting Attorney General Lougy. “Behind the slick sales pitch, there was never any real investment, and we charge that the defendants quickly diverted the investor funds for their personal use.”
“Beginning with a lead from our prior case against Francavilla, we followed the trail of stolen money and broken promises that these defendants allegedly left in their wake,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This case is another strong example of how we are aggressively targeting financial fraud.”
In 2011, Denti, Giardina and Francavilla allegedly convinced a doctor to advance $250,000 to help launch a purported venture in which the three defendants and the doctor would become affiliated with a surgical center. They were to establish an arrangement with a labor union – through the company that negotiates health benefits for the union – to send its members to the surgical center. The venture involved Giardina’s management company, Harbor Management LLC, and Giardina purportedly was going to advance $250,000 as well. The defendants allegedly represented to the doctor that the four of them would share equally in a portion of the fees for the medical services for union members, and the doctor would be repaid first. It is alleged that, in reality, the venture was simply a scheme to defraud the doctor, and his $250,000 was diverted by Denti, Giardina and Francavilla for their personal benefit.
In the second scheme, Perricelli and Denti allegedly solicited an investment of $100,000 from a married couple in 2014. Perricelli and Denti claimed to be joint owners of a blood-testing laboratory and told the couple that they were purchasing shares of the lab company that would grow in value over time. In reality, Perricelli was only an employee of the lab, and Denti had no formal connection to it. It is alleged that the $100,000 was diverted for the personal use of Perricelli, Denti and Francavilla.
The lead detective on the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau is Detective Matthew Tully, who investigated under the supervision of Lt. Brian Bruton, Deputy Chief of Detectives Christopher Donohue, Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis and Deputy Bureau Chief Annmarie Taggart. The lead prosecutor is Deputy Attorney General Amy Simienski, and Deputy Attorney General Brandy Malfitano has assisted with the investigation.
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. The second-degree money laundering charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000 and an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty of up to $250,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Denti was lodged in the Bergen County Jail with bail set at $100,000, no 10 percent option. Giardina was arrested in Westchester County, N.Y., by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice and the New York State Police. He is being held in the Westchester County Jail in White Plains, N.Y., pending extradition to New Jersey.
Acting Attorney General Lougy and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free tip line 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities confidentially. The public also can log on to the Division’s webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.