NEWARK, NJ — A North Caldwell man recently admitted to fraudulently using more than $550,000 in investment funds that he solicited to purchase and sell consumer products in bulk, according to Acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

Michael Esposito, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark federal court, according to Fitzpatrick’s announcement last week.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

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“From August 2013 through February 2017, Esposito was the president of numerous entities that purported to purchase consumer products in bulk from manufacturers for resale to wholesalers and retailers. Esposito admitted that he told potential investors that he could purchase consumer goods – such as soda and bottled water – at substantial discounts, and that he had buyers ready to purchase the products at a significant profit.

“In return for providing the funds necessary to purchase the products, Esposito promised the victim investors a large percentage of the profits. However, Esposito admitted that he used the funds for his personal expenses and to pay other investors in order to make it appear the money was properly used. Esposito admitted that his actions resulted in losses of more than $550,000.

“The charge of wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is set for July 20, 2017.”

Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation. He also thanked investigators with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.