DETROIT, MI – A federal jury convicted a Manhattan Beach, California woman of eight counts of wire fraud yesterday, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. The convictions followed a week-long trial in front of U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.
“Our office aggressively investigates and prosecutes people who defraud our citizens through lies and deceit,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider stated. “When investors entrust their hard-earned money to third parties, they should know that their money won’t be stolen. When investors are lied to and taken advantage of, we’ll hold the swindlers accountable for their crimes.”
Gayle Hassan Al-Said, 68, a purported international banker, was found to have defrauded local Detroit investors and used their investment funds for her own benefit. Among the expenditures that Al-Said made using investor funds were purchases at high-end retail stores in Europe, payment for a plastic surgeon, and cash transfers to herself and her family members. Al-Said also used investor funds to make a down payment on a $4 million home and rented a high-end London flat for $16,000/month. She failed to disclose any of these expenditures to the investors, who had been led to believe that their investments would be placed in risk-free trust accounts.
Al-Said also claimed to have high-level connections to the royal family of Saudi Arabia and represented herself to be the chairwoman and chief executive officer of multiple international banks. Evidence at trial demonstrated that these banks were, in fact, shell companies that did not engage in any banking activity.
In total, Al-Said’s fraudulent scheme caused approximately $1.3 million in losses to investors.
Al-Said faces a maximum possible penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment for each count of conviction. Sentencing has been set for January 8, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.