Brett A. Amendola, 37, of Ashburn, VA, pleaded guilty April 4 to defrauding investors of more than $3.8 million through a scheme in which he claimed to be purchasing the Beacon Hill golf course west of Leesburg.
Loudoun Sheriff Michael L. Chapman joined U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Neil H. MacBride; James W. McJunkin, assistant director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office to make the announcement after U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee accepted the plea.
Amendola pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
In 2010 and 2011, Amendola persuaded various investors to provide him with short-term funding that would be held in escrow to fulfill a requirement by his lender to purchase the Beacon Hill Golf Course, according to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement. He promised investors the money would be returned, with interest, in a matter of days. But Amendola diverted that money for his own use. The things he used the money for, according to the statement of facts, include funding his and family members’ trading accounts, making payments to investors in this and other schemes, and paying for personal expenses.
According to information provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Amendola posed as an attorney representing the escrow account both over the phone and through various email messages, leading investors to believe that they were wiring funds to financial accounts controlled by the escrow attorney, not Amendola. Amendola used money from those accounts for his personal use, according to the statement of facts.