Con Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Small Businesses During Pandemic out of $1.4M

New York man posed as a benefactor who could help nearly 40 small businesses get loans during the darkest days of the pandemic. Instead feds said he conned businesses ranging from a beach club to real estate firms out of $1.4 million.

| 24 Apr 2023 | 12:31

Con man Anthony Burges, 54, has pled guilty to defrauding small businesses across the country out of nearly $1.4 million.

Burges, who has also gone by the name Anthony Sasso, ran the scheme with co-defendant Kelly Fontaine. Burges took advantage of nearly forty small business owners who were struggling financially due to the pandemic, and offered them fraudulent loans and fake lines of credit.

Burges’ victims included the owners of a beach club and two real estate companies, among many others. He posed as the principal of a number of shell companies including Interactive Capital Group, Interactive Capital LLC and Gramercy Park, LLC. While Burges pretended to negotiate the terms and amounts of the loans, he would demand numerous upfront fees such as commitment fees, due diligence fees, and attorney’s fees. According to the DA’s office, he spent this money on luxuries such as “fine dining and cigars in New York City and New Jersey, Uber and Lyft rides, and purchases at high-end retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Tourneau, Paul Stuart, and Brunello Cucinelli.”

Burges pled guilty to grand larceny in the second and third degree and to one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree. As part of his plea agreement, Burges will be forced to restitute $1,397,350 to his victims.

The D.A.’s Office was alerted to the scheme when one of the victims contacted the Office’s Financial Frauds Helpline. Any readers aware of such schemes are encouraged to contact the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Financial Frauds Bureau at 212-335-8900.