Belleville businessman pleads guilty to investment fraud scheme

Ann Knef Aug. 3, 2011, 1:47am

Belleville businessman Edward L. Moskop, 63, pled guilty Wednesday in federal court in East St. Louis, to mail fraud and money laundering crimes.

Moskop faces a sentence of up to 20 years on mail fraud and 10 years on money laundering, as well as a $250,000 fine and three years' supervised release when he is sentenced. Sentencing is set for Nov. 18.

"I am absolutely horrified by Mr. Moskop's actions in this case," said U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton.

"It was emotionally draining to listen to some of Mr. Moskop's victims at the hearing today. I have assured all of his victims that through my office, I will do everything that is legally possible in order to help them."

Moskop, operating as Financial Services Moskop and Associates, Inc., acted as a securities broker for several customers making mutual fund and other investments. In 1990, after a complaint made by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) for misusing funds, Moskop had been barred from working as a securities broker. However, from 1991 to 2010, Moskop persuaded customers to provide him with funds for investment in various securities.

Moskop created and mailed to his customers fraudulent receipts for these investments identified with fraudulent account numbers. In reality, Moskop stole for himself over $2.4 million from 25 victims, including relatives, persons referred by trusted friends and attorneys, a local VFW Post, as well as longtime customers of his insurance business.

Fifteen of his victims appeared at the plea hearing and told the court how Moskop has damaged their lives by robbing them of their lifetime savings, with no hope of restitution or recovery.

The scheme was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State of Illinois Securities Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley.

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