San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tico convicted in Miami for Costa Rica-based business fraud on U.S. citizens

A Costa Rican man could spend decades behind bars in a U.S. prison after being convicted on 12 felony counts of business fraud.

A U.S. federal grand jury found Sirtaj “Tosh” Mathauda guilty of operating a chain of fake companies that made false business propositions to U.S. customers, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement.

From 2004 through early 2009, Mathauda operated Apex Management Group, USA Beverages Inc., Omega Business Systems and Nation West Distribution from call centers located in Costa Rica. Mathauda and a group of co-conspirators used the companies to sell rights to vending machine routes, beverage distributorships and greeting card distributorships. Mathauada and his accomplices claimed the distribution routes were located in high traffic areas, would be maintained and were fiscally profitable. They would then provide false references to corroborate their claims.

Several of Mathauda’s accomplices, including his brother Dilraj “Rosh” Mathauda previously pled guilty in Miami in connection with their roles in the fraudulent business opportunity scam.

“Business opportunity fraud imposes major financial hardships on innocent hardworking citizens,” said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Division, in a statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to persecute aggressively those who are exploiting consumers to make a quick buck for themselves.”

Mathauda was convicted of 11 other lesser felony charges as well, including nine counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years of prison on each count of conviction.

“This verdict demonstrates that individuals living outside of the US will not be allowed to use technology to commit fraud on the American public,” said Henry Gutiérrez, the lead U.S. Postal Inspector on the case. “This investigation illustrates our resolve to protect American consumers form business scams wherever they occur.”

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