73-Year-Old Dallas Man Convicted In International Telecom Swindle Worth $60 Mil

Categories: Crime
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Michael Signoretto is 73, and as of today the Dallas man faces up to 40 years in federal prison for his role in defrauding two British telecommunications companies out of of more than $60 million. Signoretto, who was just found guilty by a federal jury, didn't do this alone. He had plenty of co-conspirators, including Plano's Steven Roy Jamieson, Jeffrey John Hemmer of Dallas and a U.K. citizen who split his time between residences in in Poland and Dubai. Some of those involved have taken guilty pleas; others are awaiting trial; another Brit is currently at large.

The way the U.S. Attorney's Office lays out the complicated deal, it sounds like something right out of the movies -- fake passports, private banks run by money launderers, loot divvied up and scattered across the globe, code names uttered over pre-paid "bat phones," recorded phone conversations, conspirators turned informants and packages full of money passed at the valet stand and concierge desk at a downtown Dallas hotel. The feds outline the scheme, which involved ripping off British Telecom and the former MCI, after the jump. But: Who plays Signoretto in the movie?
FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS DALLAS MAN IN INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS FRAUD

Fraud Extended to United Kingdom, Spain, Lebanon, France and the United Arab Emirates

DALLAS -- Following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, a federal jury has convicted Michael Signoretto, 73, of Dallas, on two counts of an indictment charging offenses related to his role in defrauding two British telecommunications companies of more than $60 million. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña, of the Northern District of Texas.

Specifically, the jury convicted Signoretto on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct official an official proceeding. The maximum statutory sentence for each of the counts is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing will be set at a later date.

The government presented evidence at trial, including voluminous bank/ financial records from multiple countries and intercepted telephone communications, that Signoretto and his co-conspirators, Steven Roy Jamieson, of Plano, Texas; Robert William Moore, a United Kingdom (U.K.) citizen who resided in Poland and Dubai; David William Price, a U.K. citizen; Thomas Francis Quinn, a U.S. citizen who resided in France and maintained residences in other foreign countries; Jeffrey John Hemmer, of Dallas; and others, ran a conspiracy to defraud two British telecommunications companies, British Telecom (BT) and MCI (now Verizon) out of more than $60 million. Defendants Jamieson, Moore, Quinn and Hemmer have pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud and are awaiting sentencing. Defendants Moore and Quinn are in custody; defendant Price remains a fugitive.

According to the trial evidence, Signoretto and his co-defendants committed the fraud by purchasing a London business, London Digital Limited (LDL), that had pre-existing contracts and favorable credit terms with BT and MCI. Over an 18-month period from late 2003 to June 2005, the conspirators used LDL to quickly buy increasing amounts of "air time" from the telecom companies that they would sell at a loss to other wholesale companies, and then, when they were doing more than $20 million per month in business, put their London company into bankruptcy and walked away with three months' worth of revenues that should have been paid to the telecom companies.

The conspirators created two shell companies, Nationwide Call Company (NCC) in Dallas and FOCOS Electronics in Marbella, Spain, to covertly move the proceeds of their fraud to Aston Rothbury, a private "bank" in London operated by a convicted money launderer. From London, the conspirators had their fraud proceeds directed to three bank accounts in Beirut, Lebanon, and from there the funds were disbursed to accounts in numerous countries, including France, Kenya, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Poland, the United States, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. As part of their plan to keep the fraud secret, the conspirators utilized fake passports, spoke about the fraud on prepaid "bat phones," and referred to each other with predetermined code names.

In late 2005, the victim companies brought a federal civil action in Hammond, Indiana, in an attempt to uncover the truth of what was behind the suspicious bankruptcy of LDL. As part of the federal case, the victim companies took the deposition of Jeffrey Hemmer on four occasions between late 2005 and late 2008. Behind the scenes, Signoretto and his co-conspirators waged a prolonged effort to obstruct this federal civil case in order to prevent the victims from exposing the criminal conspiracy and everyone involved in it. Starting with a meeting of the conspirators in a Paris hotel, there was a concerted effort to get Hemmer to lie under oath in the Indiana proceedings or "take a vacation" -- the conspirators' code for fleeing the United States -- so that he could not give deposition testimony.

On four occasions between July and December 2008, Signoretto dropped four packages containing thousands of dollars at the concierge desk and valet stand at a downtown Dallas hotel, for pickup by Hemmer. Unbeknownst to the conspirators, however, Hemmer had begun cooperating with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation agents investigating the LDL case. Beginning with consensual recordings of Hemmer's telephone calls, the investigating agents eventually obtained court-ordered wiretap interceptions of the telephones of Jamieson and Signoretto. These intercepted calls clearly implicated Signoretto and his co-conspirators in the effort to obstruct the Indiana federal case, as well as the underlying LDL fraud.

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9 comments
Anthony Signoretto
Anthony Signoretto

This is a typical example of irresponsible journalism today in this country.  Mr Wilonsky, who is responsible for the research that went into this article?  Had you been more responsible in your research, you would have realized that Michael Signoretto(my brother) a high school dropout, has none of the credentials that the other men listed in this article do have.  All the other men listed in your article are career criminals.  One of which Mr. Jamison has 3 alias.These men knew when to take a plea and leave my brother ,who doesn't even own a computer, holding the bag.  All of these men who are very wealthy have given up large portions of their wealth or possessions for reduced sentencing or as in Mr Jamieson's case total freedom.  Where is the justice in this country?  Or is it true that money buys freedom as most people are beginning to believe.

Anthony Signoretto,Monroe Township, N.J.  

John2247
John2247

I don't condone his (alleged) crime, but I support his vigor and mental vitality.

But that 40 year sentence is gonna get kind of funky in a few years.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Lesson learned......do your major crimes late in life so you will never have to do all your time. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

So, how do you square that with your recent mild-mannered comeback?  By the maxim you cite, I would expect a gradual slide into utter depravity.  (wink)   But, Jack E you've seemed to have cleaned up your act--not working blue as much as in days past.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

scott....I have burned more bridges than I have crossed.  No one left in Dallas to piss off and besides I'm running out of urine. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

I like giving you some grief, but I like that you let your freak flag fly.  Drink some water, beer whatever, eat some asparagus too, and start pissing!

TimCov
TimCov

Well, he is old enough to know better.

Holy_Sheet
Holy_Sheet

Jim...they are about the same age.

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