DEBRA W. YANG United States Attorney Central District of California
Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer (213) 894-6947 email@example.com
April 19, 2004ORANGE COUNTY ACCOUNTANT ENTERS GUILTY PLEAS TO MAIL FRAUD AND TAX CHARGES FOR HIS PARTICIPATION IN SCHEME TO DUPE INVESTORS IN DFJ ITALIA An Orange County accountant who lent his name, his opinions and his services to DFJ Italia entered guilty pleas today in United States District Court in Los Angeles before the Honorable Dale S. Fischer to a charge of mail fraud for his participation in an investment scheme that cost investors more than $45 million and a charge of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return. The two charges carry a maximum possible penalty of eight years in federal prison. Richard Glenn Dunham, 56, of Corona Del Mar, who owns RDA Financial Corporation, becomes the second person to enter guilty pleas in relation to a scheme that lured investors with lies of ties to Italian royalty and false promises of 24-percent annual returns. The scheme started in approximately September 1996, and DFJ Italia was forced into bankruptcy in March 2000. As a result of the scam, over 200 investors lost in excess of $45 million. Previously in this case, Stephen A. Ceparano, 63, a certified public accountant from Northport, New York, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud for his role in providing false financial documents to the operators of DFJ Italia. Ceparano, who entered his guilty pleas in United States District Court in Brooklyn, New York, is expected to be sentenced later this year. In entering his guilty pleas today, Dunham admitted that he was approached by the operators of DFJ Italia and agreed to provide accounting services, including tax preparation services, to DFJ Italia employees and clients. Dunham worked in DFJ Italia’s Irvine offices from January 1999 until the scheme collapsed. Dunham acknowledged that during his affiliation with DFJ Italia, he allowed DFJ Italia to falsely label Dunham as a certified public accountant who would vouch for the financial integrity of the DFJ Italia investment. Dunham also provided the company with a letter on RDA Financial letterhead in which he called DFJ Italia a “safe investment” that provided large returns, even though he had not conducted any financial review of the investment. Dunham also advised an investor that financial statements prepared by Ceparano and which purported to show the financial strength of DFJ Italia were accurate. Dunham’s advice was false as he concealed from the investor that he had never conducted any review or analysis of their content to determine their accuracy. It was later determined that the financial statements were fraudulent. Dunham is scheduled to be sentenced on October 18, 2004 at 8:30 a.m. The cases against Dunham and Ceparano are the result of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.