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NJ man, convicted fraudster pardoned by Trump, faces fraud charges again

A New Jersey man who was twice convicted of defrauding investors out of $230 million and whose lengthy prison sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump is once again facing fraud charges, federal prosecutors in New Jersey announced Wednesday.

Eliyahu “Eli” Weinstein, 48, of Lakewood, who is also known as Mike Konig, is among five men accused of defrauding dozens of investors out of $35 million, according to an arrest complaint unsealed in federal court in Trenton. The five are charged with wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice, and each could face up to 25 years in prison.

Philip Sellinger, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, said Weinstein used a fake name and falsely promised access to deals involving scarce medical supplies, baby formula and first-aid kits supposedly destined for wartime Ukraine.

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Weinstein was convicted two times in New Jersey federal court for defrauding investors. The first case involved a real estate Ponzi scheme, and the second stemmed from additional fraud he committed while on pretrial release.

Weinstein, Bromberg, and Wittels received the bulk of investor money through a second company, Tryon Management Group LLC, which was owned and controlled by two other conspirators, according to the documents. Tryon promised these individual investors — consisting mostly of friends and family — lucrative opportunities to invest in deals, and the money they gave to Tryon was transferred to Weinstein through Optimus.

In February 2022, almost immediately after Tryon and Optimus started receiving investor money, Tryon was unable to pay its investors. Weinstein, Bromberg, and Wittels allegedly agreed with Tryon’s owners to pool money from existing investors of both Optimus and Tryon and use it to make monthly payments to other investors in a Ponzi-like fashion. Bromberg, Wittels and the Tryon owners falsely told investors the payments derived from legitimate investment returns, the documents say.

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