(WNY News Now) – A 52-year-old resident of Rochester, NY, was arrested and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft, according to an announcement made by U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $500,000 fine.
Rochester – Paul Paredes, the owner of J&E Business Consulting LLC since 2013, faces serious legal trouble after being accused of wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross. Paredes’ business provided merchant services to client businesses, acting as an intermediary between credit card processing companies and smaller retailers.
The charges stem from an investigation that began when the FBI received information in January 2023 about loans made by a financial lending company, identified as “Victim 1,” to customers of J&E. These loans, termed “equipment financing” loans, were ostensibly paid out to J&E for equipment purchases by victim businesses. However, it was discovered that many customers had neither applied for nor agreed to these loans, nor did they have knowledge of the equipment in question.
The complaint alleges that Paredes fraudulently submitted approximately 42 loan applications using the identities of around 31 individuals between May and November 2022, resulting in Victim 1 paying around $2,000,000 to J&E. These funds were used for loan repayments and personal expenses, with only four percent allocated for business-related costs.
Paredes made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen and is awaiting a detention hearing scheduled for October 18, 2023.