Ex-CommuniClique CEO sentenced for money laundering, fraud
Andrew B. Powers, founder of Reston-based tech firm, defrauded investors of $25M+
The founder and former CEO of Reston-based CommuniClique on Wednesday was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison in an Alexandria federal court for money laundering and fraud that caused losses of $25 million to investors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Andrew B. Powers stole $25 million from nearly 60 people,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “Powers is a con man of the worst sort. His fraud was long-running, well-organized, and relentless. He was motivated by greed and the desire to appear successful, when in fact, he intentionally stole from and deceived his victims for his own self benefit.”
Powers, who was formerly a Virginia resident, started CommuniClique and claimed that he had developed an electronic communication application for businesses to use with their clients. He then reported false revenues of $2 million by 2009 and $180 million by 2019, and lied about having large clients.
“In fact, CommuniClique had no revenues and no large corporate clients,” says the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia’s press release.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission in August 2018 blocked him from seeking more Virginia investments. At that time, he moved his fraud scheme to California — and by 2019 had defrauded investors of approximately $25 million. By his July 2019 indictment, he was using investors’ money to rent a mansion in California for approximately $35,000 per month.
“Powers created a fake company, cheated investors of tens of millions of dollars, and used it to fund a lavish lifestyle for himself,” James A. Dawson, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, said in a statement. “The FBI is committed to rooting out fraud in all its forms, including investment fraud and money laundering schemes like the one Powers perpetrated, which can destroy companies, wipe out the life savings of families, and cost investors millions of dollars.”
U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. sentenced Powers after U.S. Attorneys Jack Hanly and Kimberly Shartar had prosecuted the case.