With friends like him, who needs enemies?  See below. 

BOSTON – A New Jersey man was sentenced today in connection with his scheme to defraud a friend of more than $1.5 million.

Edwin Tavarez, 48, of Garfield, N.J., (originally from Dorchester) was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 18 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Tavarez was also ordered to forfeit $1,515,836. On May 31, 2023, Tavarez pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Between March 2015 and February 2020, Tavarez executed a scheme in which he conned a decades-long friend into “investing” more than $1.5 million into a purported development deal for an industrial property in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. In fact, Tavarez pocketed the money and used it to fund a restaurant he owned in the Bronx, N.Y., for personal expenses, and at casinos. Tavarez hid his scheme by sending text messages to the victim with fake updates on the purported property development and blaming project delays on the permitting process.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Office made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristen A. Kearney and Leslie A. Wright of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

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