Soccer club owner pleads guilty to multi-million-dollar fraud

Thomas Anthony Guerriero's mugshot (inset) and happier times

In the summer and fall of 2014, “international financier” Thomas Anthony Guerriero, along with Diana P. Lovera and Victor Lovera, brought a blitz of media bravado to Southeast Texas as he announced his role as the owner of Beaumont’s new indoor soccer league, Oxford City Football Texas, operating out of Jefferson County’s Ford Park. What he also brought was a bad track record of fraud and mismanagement – which was quickly and loudly exposed in the pages of this publication before Guerriero quickly and quietly left town.

But not before the federal government began an investigation into the dealings of Guerriero and his crew.

The culmination of investigator and prosecutorial efforts was realized Feb. 29 when Guerriero entered into a plea agreement in federal court in Florida and agreed to forfeit $6.6 million in cash and assets as restitution for his multi-state crime spree. He will be in court May 13 for further sentencing.

According to the plea agreement, Guerriero admits guilt to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with the government agreeing to dismiss other counts Guerriero was indicted on — including witness-tampering and obstruction of justice — discovered during “separate, overlapping criminal investigations conducted by this office relating to the defendant and his involvement with WMX Group Holding Inc. and Smart Kids Group Inc.” He faces a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, followed by a term of supervised release of up to three years. In addition to a term of imprisonment and supervised release, the court may also impose a fine of up to $250,000, and a special assessment fine of $100.

“Had this case proceeded to trial,” the factual proffer admitted in the federal case against Guerriero reads, “the parties agree that the government would have proven … beyond a reasonable doubt … from approximately July 2013 through approximately July 2015, in the Southern District of Florida and elsewhere, Thomas A. Guerriero conspired with others including Diana P. Lovera and Victor Lovera, to defraud over 150 individuals and raised approximately $6.6 million from investors.”

During the course of the conspiracy, Guerriero was owner, managing member, and chief executive officer of Oxford City Football Club Inc., which claimed to manage a diverse portfolio of businesses having interests in sports, education, media and real estate. Guerriero and his co-conspirators sold stocks and bilked investors by claiming their “diverse portfolio” was more legitimate than it was in reality and selling fictionalized stock.

“The defendant and his co-conspirators told investors to invest in Oxford City because it was a good investment, a ‘no brainer,’ and that the Oxford City investment ‘can’t lose money,’” the factual proffer details. “Further, the defendant and his co-conspirators falsely told investors that no commissions were charged because the sales agents were paid a salary. In fact, Guerriero used the money received from investors for, among other things, undisclosed sales commissions, fees, and other monetary distributions to himself and to sales agents and others he hired, including Diana P. Lovera and Victor Lovera.

“To induce investors to provide the defendant money, the defendant and his co-conspirators made numerous materially false and fraudulent oral and written statements to investors, including, among other things, that Oxford City was a l31-year-old debt-free holding company; that Oxford City had a ‘book value of $38 per share’ and … that Oxford City owned or operated a broadcast network that included a radio station,” among other untruths.

After Guerriero pleaded guilty, the court accepted immediate forfeiture of “all of his right, title and interest in, and/or of any corporation or entity he controls or affects” in properties in Deerfield Beach, Florida; Hillsboro Beach, Florida; and Boca Raton, Florida.”

The plea says, “Guerriero also acknowledged that the property was derived from or was traceable to the gross proceeds of the Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud, to which he pled guilty.

“Further, Guerriero agreed to the entry of a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $6,600,000, which sum represents the gross proceeds obtained as a result of the conspiracy alleged in Count 1.”

Additionally, the court also ordered the forfeiture of proceeds from the sale of a long list of Florida properties, bank holdings and a collection of men’s jewelry.