DEARBORN, Mich. – A Dearborn man tricked dozens of people into giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars for a phony investment scheme and used that money to fund his own lavish lifestyle, officials said.
Ali Rameh Bazzi, 27, of Dearborn, claimed to be an investment manager with a unique trading model that could generate high rates of return for investors, according to authorities.
Between March 2018 and March 2020, he worked through a supposed investment management company that he had formed, officials said. He obtained about $540,000 from nearly 30 investors during that time, police said.
Bazzi told clients that he would invest their money in commodities and foreign exchange markets to generate large profits. He gave them fake account statements at regular intervals, which appeared to show trading activity and growth in value, according to federal officials.
Authorities said Bazzi used the vast majority of the money he obtained for his own personal use, including leasing exotic sports cars, acquiring jewelry, and funding the day-to-day living expenses of his comfortable lifestyle.
Most of Bazzi’s clients were left with no return on their investments, officials said. Of the $540,000 he obtained over the course of the scheme, Bazzi returned about $99,000 to investors, court records show.
He converted the remainder of the funds -- believed to be $441,231 -- for his own use.
“This defendant lived lavishly on funds that he stole from those who entrusted him with their investments,” United States Attorney Dawn Ison said. “His lies and deceit were costly to his victims and to the community as a whole. Today’s sentence was wholly warranted and I hope it will deter anyone seeking to enrich themselves by defrauding innocent investors.”
Bazzi pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in August 2021. He was sentenced Thursday (May 5) to 33 months in prison, and he must pay $441,231 in restitution to his victims.