A Roswell legal professional who served as normal counsel for a number of restricted legal responsibility firms owned and operated by his principal shopper has pleaded responsible to conspiring to defraud buyers of greater than $40 million, the U.S. legal professional for Georgia’s Northern District introduced Wednesday.
Marc Celello, a former enforcement legal professional for the Georgia secretary of state’s securities and enterprise regulation division, served as vice chairman and normal counsel of Credit score Nation, which was owned and operated by Celello’s shopper, James Torchia, in response to U.S. Lawyer Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
Celello pleaded responsible on Wednesday to a prison info charging him with felony conspiracy to commit wire fraud in live performance with Torchia. U.S. District Decide J.P. Boulee presided.
Celello’s legal professional, Nicholas Lotito of Atlanta’s Davis Zipperman Kirschenbaum & Lotito, mentioned Celello is “a proficient lawyer who acquired caught up with somebody that the federal government is prosecuting.”
“I anticipate that Marc will assist the federal government prosecute Torchia,” he added. “It was a tragic day as a result of he is an effective man.”
As early as 2015, the U.S. Securities and Change Fee branded Credit score Nation and affiliated restricted legal responsibility corporations owned by Torchia as a large Ponzi scheme. Celello additionally suggested Credit score Nation Capital, Credit score Nation Acceptance, American Motor Credit score, Credit score Nation Auto and Spaghetti Junction, in response to the SEC, which sued Torchia in 2015 and Celello in 2017.
The SEC fits sought to cease Torchia and Celello from soliciting buyers to purchase unregistered promissory notes for subprime car loans and life insurance coverage insurance policies Torchia acquired via viatical settlements with terminally sick policyholders. In line with the SEC and Pak, Torchia and Celello promised would-be buyers as a lot as a 9% charge of return though the Credit score Nation corporations had been working at a big monetary loss, and Torchia allegedly was siphoning off funding funds.
In September, a federal grand jury charged Torchia with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and a number of counts of mail fraud. Torchia has pleaded not responsible.
The SEC case in opposition to Celello stays in litigation and has been referred to a particular grasp. The SEC go well with described Celello as “an energetic participant” in Torchia’s scheme, contending that he ready deceptive providing memoranda and was “the first interface” with gross sales and advertising representatives he allegedly directed to make key misrepresentations to buyers. Celello’s involvement included approving newspaper adverts and radio commercials, a few of which had been broadcast on the nationally syndicated “Rush Limbaugh Present.”
Credit score Nation Capital was by no means worthwhile; firm promissory notes had been by no means totally secured by exhausting property and weren’t producing returns wherever close to the quantities promised to buyers, the SEC mentioned.
In line with the SEC, tons of of 1000’s of in Credit score Nation funds had been routed via Celello’s IOLTA belief account to Torchia, his spouse, a restaurant he owned and an auto dealership owned by his son, in response to the SEC.
Celello, 47, graduated from American College’s School of Legislation in Washington, D.C., in 1997, 4 years after incomes a bachelor’s diploma in political science on the College of Connecticut, in response to his web site. In Georgia, he labored as an enforcement legal professional for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Securities and Enterprise Regulation Division earlier than founding a solo legislation apply in 2004.