Aziz Choukri, of Johns Creek, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud after admitting that he defrauded a 79-year-old retiree of about $650,000.
“Fraud schemes targeting the elderly are a particularly egregious type of fraud that often deplete the victims’ entire life savings,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “This conviction affirms our commitment to prosecuting those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens.”
According to Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court, in 2016, Choukri met the victim, then 79 years old, at a fitness facility in Alpharetta. Choukri cultivated a close relationship with the elderly victim to gain his trust.
Choukri convinced the victim to invest almost $650,000 in his music management company and convinced the victim that the investment carried no risk and was guaranteed to earn a return.
Specifically, Choukri promised that the victim would be compensated the full amount of any investment, plus interest, and even told the victim that he would guarantee him a $1 million return.
Choukri did not tell the victim that the money would be used to fund Choukri’s lifestyle.
Instead of using the money as an investment in a music business, Choukri used the victim’s money largely on Choukri’s own personal expenses, including, among other things, activities of daily living (e.g., fast food, gas, and uber), payments for his daughter’s college tuition and sorority expenses, dental work for his girlfriend, payments to his girlfriend for tutoring and babysitting, and repayment of a personal loan.
Choukri also transferred a significant amount of the victim’s money to his children’s accounts and withdrew thousands of dollars in cash. Notably, Choukri’s accounts show that almost all of his income in 2016 and 2017 was from the victim.
“The victimization of the elderly through financial scams represent one of the most significant types of cases the Secret Service investigates to combat fraud,” said Special Agent in Charge Steven Baisel of the U.S. Secret Service Atlanta Field Office. “Those who prey on the vulnerable and cheat them out of their life savings through their cunning lies and financial schemes must recognize that the Secret Service, along with our many law enforcement partners, will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and bring a measure of justice to the victims.”
Aziz Choukri, age 59, pleaded guilty to wire fraud on June 16. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 14 before U.S. District Court Judge Eleanor L. Ross.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela Adams and Tal C. Chaiken are prosecuting the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is part of the Department of Justice Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force. The Strike Force focuses on investigating and prosecuting defendants associated with foreign-based fraud schemes that disproportionately affect American seniors. These include romance scams, phone scams, mass-mailing fraud schemes, and tech-support fraud schemes. For further information on these scams, see https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/senior-scam-alert.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.
Get More Context: With the barrage of information coming through your social media feeds and phone notifications, it can be hard to get a clear picture of what’s happening in your community and throughout the state. Click here to see what else is happening in The Peach State and get your news in context instead of relying on social media feeds and notifications for your news. We’ll help you stay informed.