A 78-year-old Fort Lee man could face time in federal prison after a grand jury charged him with conning a lender into giving him $780,000 to repay a debt that he instead put toward a 12th-floor apartment in a high-rise overlooking Washington Heights.
Arthur Schwartz told the victim he had the funds to repay a short-term loan but that his bank had temporarily blocked access to his account.
The lender “agreed to extend the loan to Schwartz due and payable in 30 days,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. “Schwartz used the money to purchase the apartment.”
For a couple of months, Schwartz “made numerous false statements intended to make [the victim] believe that Schwartz would be sending him money to pay down the loan,” Carpenito said.
He also texted the victim that he was “liquidating investments in a trust account into cash for the [victim’s] benefit” and an email claiming that he had access to an account with a balance of nearly $1.5 million that he could tap to repay him, the U.S. attorney said.
Schwartz, instead, “spent tens of thousands of dollars redecorating his Fort Lee apartment” atop the Palisades, Carpenito said.
Carpenito thanked special agents of the FBI with assembling the case that led to a four-count wire fraud indictment secured by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Fayer and Catherine R. Murphy of his Office Economic Crimes Unit and returned in Newark.
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