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Buffalo native in Spain pleads guilty to investor scam

A Buffalo native living in Spain has admitted taking part in a “boiler room” scam that cheated investors in Canada and the United Kingdom out of $2.9 million.

Arnold Wrobel, 63, pleaded guilty to engaging in a wire fraud conspiracy and defrauding the Internal Revenue Service as part of a plea agreement accepted by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski said the scam, based in Barcelona, Spain, conned foreign investors into buying nearly worthless shares of restricted stock at inflated prices.

The government claims about 250 investors in the two countries lost money to Wrobel and his co-conspirators. Some of the proceeds from the scheme were channeled through a Western New York bank account before being sent to several overseas accounts controlled by Wrobel and others.

Wrobel, who grew up in Buffalo, also conspired to cheat the IRS by avoiding income taxes on the money. He is the second of 12 defendants to be convicted in the case.

His guilty plea is the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division.