Abdul Walji, Reniero Francisco, Arista LLC Charged with Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme

Abdul Walji and Reniero Francisco, the chief executive officer and president, respectively, of Arista LLC, a Newport Coast, California investment firm, were arrested in their homes and charged with fraud.

A six-count criminal complaint for defrauding their investors and for misappropriation of millions of dollars, was filed against them according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office George Venizelos.

Walji and Francisco began to solicit individuals to invest in Arista in early 2010, according to the charges. Several of these investors contributed large portions of their savings, including their retirement savings. Walji and Francisco collected approximately $10 million from over 35 investors, the prosecutors charged.

Documents reviewed by securities lawyers Jason Kane and Joe Peiffer indicate that Abdul Walji and Reniero Francisco allegedly enticed investors by assuring them that their money would be invested in risk-free securities despite actually being placed in highly speculative options and futures investment.

They further issued fraudulent account performance statement to hide the ongoing losses, and misappropriated at least $2.7 million of the investment funds for their personal use according to the complaint

If convicted Walji, 60, and Francisco, 56, could be facing up to 20 years in prison for fraud and wire fraud charges, and up to 5 years in prison for conspiracy charges. Walji is also facing a separate charge of commodities fraud which carries with it a maximum term of 10 years imprisonment.

The Peiffer Wolf securities attorneys often represent investors who lose money as a result of Ponzi schemes, investment fraud or misconduct. They are currently investigating these allegations with a view towards assisting victims in recovering their losses. They take most cases of this type on a contingency fee basis and advance the case costs, and only get paid for their fees and costs out of money they recover for their clients.

Investors who believe they lost money as a result of investment fraud or misconduct may contact the securities lawyers at Peiffer Wolf, Jason Kane or Joe Peiffer, for a free, no obligation evaluation of their recovery options, at 585-310-5140.

Peiffer Wolf (1302 Posts)


In our legal system, every person is innocent until and unless found guilty by a court of law or a tribunal. Whenever we reference “allegations” or charges that are “alleged,” such allegations or charges have not been proven, and are merely accusations, not findings of fault, as of the date of the blog. We do not have, nor do we undertake, a duty to continue to monitor or follow cases about which we report, and/or to publish subsequent blogs regarding various developments that may occur in such cases. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research regarding any such cases and any developments that may or may not have occurred in such cases.