19 Indicted on Charge of Running Mob-Run Boiler Room

Federal prosecutors have indicted 19 people alleging they operated a mob-run telemarketing scheme in South Florida that bilked consumers of $11.7 million.

The suspects operated out of “boiler rooms” — a term used to describe illicit call centers — in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Margate. The suspects victimized hundreds in a phony foreign-exchange market investment scam, according to the charges, released Wednesday by the U.S. attorney general's district office in Miami.

Accused of heading the operation was Anthony Graziano, to whom the indictment refers as an underboss and consigliere in the Bonnano crime family. Graziano was arrested in New York on March 19, according to reports in the Palm Beach Post.

The newspaper also reported that attorneys for several of those indicted claimed that their operations were legitimate telemarketing businesses.

Four companies, including International Fortune Inc., International Exchange Inc., New World Exchange Inc. and Lamat Investments Corp., were involved in the scheme, according to the indictment. The companies offered to use investors' money to buy and sell foreign currency for investors, but instead kept money they obtained without investing it as they had promised, prosecutors charged.

An additional 10 people also were indicted on charges unrelated to the telemarketing operation.

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