“The federal government has the ability to reach defendants who flee to many countries overseas,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement Friday. “By using all of the worldwide law enforcement resources available to us, we can bring to justice individuals who commit crimes against victims in Michigan.”
Initially charged late last year, Arsoni and several others are accused of allegedly making unsolicited calls to Americans nationwide and pitching them on single-family Detroit homes. They allegedly lied about the value of the homes – many of which had been purchased for less than $500 and selling them for anywhere between $7,500 and $15,000.
“This nationwide telemarketing fraud not only caused millions of dollars in losses to victims of the scheme, but it also contributed to blight in Detroit neighborhoods,” McQuade said when Arsoni and 15 others were initially charged.
“Thousands of homes were left to fall into decay as a result of these individuals using Detroit real estate as a commodity to accomplish their fraud,” McQuade alleges.
Paul Abbate, special agent in charge of the FBI Detroit field office alleges the accused stole millions of dollars from hundreds of victims.
“However, they did more than steal money—their greed and fraud compounded the proliferation of vacant homes left for ruin in far too many Detroit neighborhoods,” Abbate said when they were charged. “The FBI is committed to rooting out and bringing to justice those who would commit crimes of this nature and act against the interests of our communities.”
Erez Arsoni, who allegedly fled to Spain while being investigated for his part in a $20 million telemarketing ploy, has been extradited to the United States.