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Horne: Affinity Fraud Scam Nets Stiff Sentence for Key Figure

PHOENIX (Wednesday, June 13, 2012) -- Attorney General Tom Horne announced today that Mohammad Reza Amin-Sobhani (aka Robert Amini), age 61, former board member of the Al-Mahdi Benevolent Islamic Foundation of Arizona (AMBIFA), has been sentenced by Judge Warren Granville of the Maricopa County Superior Court to 14.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections to be followed by five years of supervised probation upon his release from prison. Additionally, Amin-Sobhani was ordered to pay over $3.2 million in restitution to the victims of his crimes. 

“The key figure in this case used his position as a member of his religious community to defraud his victims of millions of dollars and is paying a heavy price for his crimes,” Horne stated. “The sentence imposed is nearly the maximum penalty available, and should send a message that the Attorney General’s office takes fraud cases very seriously.” 

Amin-Sobhani utilized his standing in AMBIFA to convince other organization members to invest money into an entity he owned called Expert Development & Investment (“EDI”). Defendant allegedly promised low-risk investment opportunities with high interest returns, falsely portraying EDI to be a lucrative, multi-million dollar company involved in high-profit ventures like commercial real estate and luxury aircraft sales. Subsequent investigation, however, has revealed Defendant’s claims of business success to be false. 

Amin-Sobhani provided his victims with apparently legitimate promissory notes pursuant to his schemes and to deflect victim concern about Amin-Sobhani’s ability to follow through on his promised investment returns. 

Amin-Sobhani was charged with six counts of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, class 2 felonies; six counts Securities Fraud, class 4 felonies; six counts Sale of Unregistered Securities, Class 4 felonies; and six counts Transactions by Unregistered Dealers or Salesmen, Class 4 felonies. 

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael Flynn.