Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Ex-CommuniClique CEO gets 12 years prison for money laundering, fraud

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Former CommuniClique CEO Andy Powers was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for what the U.S. Department of Justice called an investment fraud and money laundering conspiracy that caused $25 million in losses.

“Andrew B. Powers stole $25 million from nearly 60 people,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a press release Wednesday. “Powers is a con man of the worst sort. His fraud was long-running, well-organized, and relentless. He was motivated by greed and the desire to appear successful, when in fact, he intentionally stole from and deceived his victims for his own self-benefit.”

Powers was found guilty in February of three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, as well as two counts of unlawful monetary transaction, according to court filings. He was remanded to the prison Feb. 10 following his conviction.

Powers founded CommuniClique in 2006 and was based in Reston and Arlington for years before moving to Los Angeles in 2018 as the head of the company, which he billed as a communications and tech platform. He was arrested June 6, 2019 and charged with wire fraud as part of what the FBI had described then as “a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.” Powers was indictedJuly 30, 2019.

The indictment alleged Powers “engaged in a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises,” and that Powers falsely claimed CommuniClique’s revenue was about $20 million in 2012 and $165 million in 2017 when the company did not actually generate those amounts, according to court documents.

He eventually claimed $180 million in revenue by 2019, but in fact had no revenue or large corporate clients, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

“Powers created a fake company, cheated investors of tens of millions of dollars, and used it to fund a lavish lifestyle for himself,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.

“The FBI is committed to rooting out fraud in all its forms, including investment fraud and money laundering schemes like the one Powers perpetrated, which can destroy companies, wipe out the life savings of families, and cost investors millions of dollars.”

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