American Justice Notebook

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Calif. Man Charged in Alleged $1.8 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

SANTA ANA, California 

An Orange County-based businessman who portrayed himself as a wealthy and successful entrepreneur – sometimes bragging that he was one of the richest men in Africa – was arrested Thursday on federal charges alleging he solicited investments under false pretenses and used the investors’ money to support his own high-end lifestyle.

Amadou Kane Diallo, 44, a Senegalese national living in Laguna Niguel, was arrested at his residence Thursday by FBI special agents.

The federal grand jury indictment unsealed today alleges that Diallo fraudulently obtained more than $1.8 million from at least 11 victims who thought their investments would allow them to reap the benefits of Diallo’s supposed business successes while facing little to no risk.

Diallo was the CEO of two Newport Beach-based companies – Virtual Advisors LLC and Liquide, Inc. – which he allegedly used to solicit investments in purported business opportunities related to various sectors and topics, including technology, healthcare, real estate, home ownership, and service to the African diaspora.

Diallo made various representations to victims, including falsely telling some potential investors that he had previously raised hundreds of millions of dollars for another investment firm and its real estate investment fund – a claim that simply was not true, according to the indictment.

            Contrary to his representations to victims, Diallo allegedly used most of the investment funds for his own extravagant lifestyle, which included making rent payments on his residence, purchasing or making payments on luxury vehicles, buying clothes and fancy dinners, and hosting lavish events for foreign government officials.

In conjunction with Diallo’s arrest, authorities seized several items related to allegedly fraudulent conduct, including three late model luxury vehicles – a Ferrari SF90 Stradale, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, and a Range Rover – a Harry Winston ring worth approximately $12,500, and a brokerage account containing about $500,000 worth of stocks.

The indictment charges Diallo with 19 counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each of the wire fraud counts and a maximum penalty of 10 years on each money laundering counts.

Diallo is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

            The FBI is conducting an ongoing investigation into this matter.

            Special Assistant United States Attorney Ryan G. Adams of the Santa Ana Branch Office and Justice Department Trial Attorney William E. Schurmann of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting this case.