Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

6 Held in Fraud Scheme

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

6 Held in Fraud Scheme

Article excerpt

Within weeks after they agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle allegations of investment fraud, a Bergen County father and son began selling bogus investments again, state authorities said Tuesday.

George Bussanich Sr. of Park Ridge and his son, George Bussanich Jr. of Saddle River, settled state allegations of defrauding 26 investors in August 2014. Then - although the settlement barred them from selling investments - they almost immediately solicited $3 million from 15 of the same investors, the state attorney general said Tuesday.

"The audacity of these defendants is astounding," acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in a statement. "After the Bureau of Securities exposed how this father and son deceived investors, securing a $5.5 million settlement against them, the defendants allegedly went right back to their old game, defrauding investors of another $3 million and even using some of the new funds to make payments under the settlement."

The two were arrested Sept. 2 on charges of conspiracy, money laundering, racketeering, securities fraud, theft by deception and misconduct by a corporate official. Also arrested were George Bussanich Sr.'s wife, Wilma Bussanich, 54, and three other people: Heidi Francavilla, 56, of Park Ridge; Robert G. Schooley, 64, of Park Ridge; and Brendan M. Byrne, 44, of Paterson.

Last week, George Bussanich Sr., 56, and George Bussanich Jr., 35, were also arrested on separate, federal charges of bank fraud related to short sales that authorities said were scams. In a short sale, a lender accepts less than is owed on the loan because the home's value has dropped and the seller owes more than the house is worth.

The Bussaniches were originally accused of selling fake, unregistered investments in George Bussanich Sr.'s sleep and medical centers, located mostly in Cliffside Park. …

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