Two Orange County businessmen parading as ultra-wealthy, financial wizards are in federal custody today for operating a five-year scam that employed brazenly dishonest assertions to lure millions of dollars from investors, according to an indictment issued in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Federal prosecutor Ivy A. Wang won no-bail status last week for arrestees Richard Senna of La Habra and Irvine's James N. Kanavos (a.k.a. Dimitri N. Kanavos), who are locked inside the Santa Ana jail and face wire fraud as well as aiding and abetting charges in a six-count indictment.
Both Senna and Kanavos have pleaded not guilty.
According to the indictment, Kanavos operated the Euro Bank Trust Corp. (a.k.a. EBTC, Inc.) with Senna from 2009 to March 2014 with a no-risk, 100 percent daily return on investment scam that falsely boasted of high government contacts around the world, including at the Vatican.
The defendants told potential investors they own 37 banks "plus a major stake in all the major banks in the world;" buy and sell bank notes for big public banks; have a 65-year history; provide "black debit cards" that offer clients secret, untraceable transactions around the world; have a 100 percent success rate and work with more than 1,300 wealthy investors each with minimum $10 million accounts with EBTC, according to the indictment.
But, FBI agents claim, the $3.6 million scam operating in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties funded the personal expenses of Kanavos and Senna, who were respectively born in 1969 and 1941.
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U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford will preside over the case, including a scheduled June 23 status hearing inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.
Court officials tentatively set a July 1 trial date.