STAMFORD, Conn. — A Stamford couple has been indicted on 39 federal charges in a scheme that defrauded its victim-investors in a surgical glove innovation of more than $2 million, prosecutors said Friday.
Thomas J. Connerton, 64, and Jean S. Erickson, 62, were arrested Thursday and appeared in federal court, said Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
The indictment alleges that Connerton was the founder, president, and CEO of Safety Technologies, which had its principal place of business at various times in Simsbury, Madison, Westport and Stamford.
Safety Tech was founded in 2006, purportedly to develop and commercialize a highly durable puncture and cut resistant material to be used in the surgical glove market and other related markets.
It has not obtained any patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Connerton did not register Safety Tech’s securities with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Beginning in June 2009, Connerton induced victim-investors to provide funds and purchase Safety Tech securities by falsely representing that the valuation of Safety Tech was in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, that a lucrative deal to sell or license his glove technology was imminent, and that he would use their funds for research and development, product testing, and to bring the product to market.
He offered his investors small amounts of equity in Safety Tech through “Subscription Agreements” or investments contracts through which he sold what he described as “Units.”
It is alleged that Connerton made numerous other false representations to victim-investors, including stating in September 2015, “I will go on the record to state that there is not a single investor that will lose one dollar invested in Safety Technologies.”
The indictment alleges that he used invested funds to pay personal expenses, including, on two separate occasions, to purchase diamond engagement rings from Tiffany & Co. He also used funds to repay loans to an earlier investor.
Through this scheme, it is alleged that Connerton defrauded more than 50 victim-investors of more than $2 million.
The indictment further alleges that he, with Erickson’s help, engaged in monetary transactions to conceal from the FBI and the SEC the source of funds received by Safety Tech from the sale of securities. They negotiated checks and purchased bank checks in order to move the fraudulent proceeds from one account to another.
The indictment also alleges that, in April 2016, Erickson contacted the FBI and falsely stated that she was just an investor when she was engaged to Connerton and sharing a home with him at the time. During the call, she provided a false address to an FBI special agent.
Connerton was charged with 12 counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and 18 counts of securities fraud, offenses that carry a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count.
He was also charged with six counts of money laundering, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count, and one count of money laundering conspiracy, with a maximum prison term of 20 years.
Erickson was charged with money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, and making a false statement to a federal agent, with a maximum of five years in prison.
Connerton was detained pending a Monday detention hearing. Erickson was released on $250,000 bond.
A federal grand jury in New Haven returned the indictment on March 7.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.
Anyone with information that may be helpful to this ongoing investigation, or who believe they have been victimized by this scheme, are encouraged to contact the FBI at 203-777-6311.