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Former MIT Dean & Son Get 45 Months in Prison for Hedge Fund Scam

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Former associate dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gabriel Bitran, 70, and his son Marco Bitran, 40, were each sentenced to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release, forfeiture and restitution of over $11 million by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Mark Wolf.

The sentencing comes after the two former hedge fund managers were found to have been misleading investors into investing over $500 million in their fraudulent hedge fund business.

The Crime

From 2005 through 2011, Gabriel and Marco Bitran solicited and maintained investors in their hedge fund and investment advisory businesses through false claims that, for eight or more years they had delivered average annual returns between 16 and 23% with no down years.

The Bitrans told investors that the money in their hedge funds would be invested according to  a mathematical trading model which was developed by Gabriel Bitran and based upon his MIT research.

The Bitrans also hid from investors that their hedge funds were funds of funds, meaning hedge funds in which values of investments are determined by the value of investments in other independently managed hedge funds.

Investigators catch on

In the fall of 2008, several of the Bitrans' hedge funds had major loses, resulting in investors losing 50-75% of their principal. As their funds are going through losses, the Bitran's redeemed about  $12 million of their own money from the funds, meanwhile deferring other investors requests for redemption.

In January 2009, examiners from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission learned of the Bitrans' performance claims and asked for supporting documentation while investigating victims of the Madoff fraud.

The Bitrans made false statements to the SEC examiners and then provided fake records.

From 2009 to 2010 the Bitrans continued to take steps to shield their personal assets by moving them out of their businesses  and into entities with less obvious affiliations.

The Bitrans lost over $140 million of their investors' principal.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara Miron Bloom, Brian Pérez-Daple and Mary Murrane of Ortiz’s Criminal Division. 


Related Slideshow: 10 Crimes in Worcester that Have Made People Lose Confidence

The Worcester crime problem. 

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Body on Garbage Bin

On July 23, 2014, nearly one year ago, the body of 49-year-old David Beshai was found stuffed in a trash bin on Main Street in Worcester. Today, Frank Beshai is still searching for answers from the Worcester Police Department and still seeking for reasons for how his brother was killed and how is body was dumped in a trash bin.

“About a year ago, my brother was erased from the picture. He was buried in a trash bin outside of the Worcester courthouse on Main Street,” said Beshai. "And no one is saying a word about it. If no one is talking about it, then there’s something they (Worcester PD) don’t want anyone to know.”

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Woman Missing

By the time Kevin Crozier has to appear in court again, it will mark ten months since his 23-year-old girlfriend Sabrina Hatheway went missing.

Crozier, 28, of 11 Dixfield Street in Worcester, didn’t appear at a court hearing on Thursday morning at the Worcester County Courthouse.

Crozier was indicted in March on charges of conspiracy and arson.

On Thursday morning, Crozier’s case was continued to October 30.

Hatheway was reported missing on January 10. She had been missing for 21 days and was last seen by Crozier on December 20.

In an exclusive interview this winter, Crozier told GoLocal that on the night of December 20, he and Hatheway were at a party at a friend's house. Crozier said, "We were there, we got drunk. A friend gave us a ride home. We went inside and I passed out. When I woke up in the morning, she was gone.”

"I woke up in the morning and, once again, my girlfriend had taken off,” Crozier said. “My friend called and asked if we were still going to church. I said I was, but Sabrina wasn't because she had taken off during the night."

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Body Found Near School

A dead body was found in an abandoned property near the grounds of Worcester Technical High School early this morning.

The body was found by the school’s Police Liaison officer on a routine check of the school’s grounds.

In a statement released to GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Public Schools Safety Liaison Robert Pezzella said, “This morning...at Worcester Technical High School, a police liaison officer was making her daily rounds outside the school building. Upon entering an abandoned building on the property which is owned by the city ,she discovered a deceased body. As a result of the discovery, she notified the proper local law enforcement officials and school administration officials.

"Shortly thereafter, public safety officials arrived on scene and secured the area.

"As a result of the discovery of the body, there was no lockdown necessary. However, police officials did advise the principal to be vigilant for the remainder of the school day."

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Heroin and Guns

On October 16, the Worcester Vice Squad officers pulled over the operator of one of the vehicles, identified as 27-year-old Brian Jesus of Hudson. Officers discovered Jesus was in possession of three knotted baggies that contained heroin.

He had a possession of Class A Substance.

Officers then stopped the other vehicle involved in the drug transaction. The vehicle was stopped in the TD Bank parking lot on Parke Ave. The operator of identified as Alexis Serrano of Worcester. Mr. Serrano was in possession of nineteen bags of heroin and $1,475 cash. Members of the vice squad proceeded to obtain a search warrant for his residence located at 113 Winfield Street.

At approximately 3:00 PM officers executed the search warrant at 113 Winfield Street. As a result of the search, officers seized packaging material, paperwork, and a firearm.

Mr. Santos Serrano, 36, of 45 Charlotte Street, Apartment 2, Worcester, was charged with Distribution of Class A Substance and Possession of Firearm/Ammunition without an FID Card.

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Home Invasion

The Worcester Police Department are investigating a home invasion that took place on Main Street Thursday night -- and are looking for help from the public for more information. 

Police Statement

On October 22, 2015 at approximately 9:00 PM Worcester police were dispatched to an apartment in the vicinity of the 500 block of Main Street for a report of a home invasion. Upon arrival, officers spoke to a 22-year-old female victim who reported that when she arrived home she found three men inside her apartment.

Officers observed that the apartment was ransacked. The victim reported that several items were stolen during the incident.

According to the victim, at least two of the three men were armed with handguns. One of the males took the victim into her bedroom and tied her hands and feet. The victim was able to loosen the ties on her hands and break free after the suspects left the apartment.

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More Home Invasions

A 22-year-old and 25-year-old man suffered gunshot wounds following a home invasion on Flagg Street early Wednesday morning. 

According to the Worcester Police Department, around 1 AM, police responded to an apartment on Flagg Street for a report of a home invasion. Upon arrival, officers met with a 22-year-old male victim who suffered a gunshot would to his lower extremity. He was conscious and alert. 

A 25-year-old male victim was found in the kitchen and had been shot several times, but was conscious and alert. Both victims are brothers and were transported to a local hospital. They are in stable condition. 

A dog was found shot dead in the living room.

A third victim and brother of the two shot men told WPD that he witnessed two male suspects tampering with a first floor apartment window. The suspects were described as one black male and one black or Hispanic male. Suspect #1 is a black male about 6’0" tall, thin build wearing all black clothing. Suspect #2 is either a black or Hispanic male, approximately 5’8 to 5’10", medium build wearing all black

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Stabbing and Beating

Two men were transported to the hospital early on Sunday morning after they were injured in a home invasion.

Police responded to reports of a home invasion at a Puritan Avenue Address at 1:28 a.m. on October 4. When they arrived, they found two victims, one, a 46-year-old male, was suffering from head injuries after being pistol whipped, while the other, a 42-year-old male, was suffering from a stab wound, a broken leg and a shoulder injury.

The victims, who were both awake and alert when police responded, told officers two men broke into the home, one armed with a handgun and the other with a knife. The suspects attacked the two victims and ransacked the home, demanding money. 

There was also a 2-year-old girl sleeping in her room during the home invasion. She was unhurt during the incident and unaware it had occured, but was transported to a local hospital for precautionary measures.

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Mother and Infant Shot

Two people were shot in Plumley Village in Worcester on Monday night and WPD is now searching for a second suspect.

Tragically, an infant was struck by a stray bullet as the city’s trend of gang violence continues to play out.

Around 8:30 PM, shots were reported by Shotspotter on Laurel Street. The shooting actually occurred on Everett Gaylord Boulevard.

As of Monday evening, the infant was stable after being shot in the shoulder.

A second victim, a woman, was shot in the arm and hand and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

According to communication on the WPD police scanner, officers are looking for a light skin Hispanic male, roughly 5'5" to 5'6", in his late 20s to early 30s, with curly hair and wearing a dark shirt with dark pants.

A witness notified the WPD of a second suspect. The only information available at this time is that the suspect was a male, wearing a turquoise blue shirt.

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Three Indicted for Shooting

On Tuesday, three Worcester men were indicted with murder in last month's shooting death of 24-year-old Shane Bennett. 

According to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., the grand jury charged Jeffrey Johnson, 33, of 34 Courtland Street, with murder, conspiracy to commit a crime and armed robbery. Matthew Pye, 30, of 1 Prospect Street, was charged with murder, armed assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm not at home or work. Simon Holley, 28, of 269 Millbury Street, was charged with murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit a rime and possession of a firearm not at home or work. 

As GoLocalWorcester reported, Bennett, 24, was fatally shot on August 16 on Newbury Street in what prosecutors are calling a drug deal gone bad. This was the fifth homicide in Worcester in 2015.

All three men had previously been charged in Central District Court, but not with murder.

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At the six month mark of 2015, Worcester has seen 20 shooting incidents resulting in three homicides. 

At least ten of the shootings so far this year have involved both victims and suspects in their teens, while another five involved men in their early 20s.

SEE SLIDES BELOW: All 20 Shootings Incidents So Far This Year in Worcester

This year's shootings total matches the same number at this time last year. By the end of 2014, the city witnessed 38 shootings and seven homicides.

Three of the four homicides this year have come from gunfire - including last week’s murder of 22-year-old David Luyando of Worcester.

As GoLocalWorcester reported this weekend, Luyando was shot inside Hope Cemetery while visiting the grave site of a deceased friend. He was driven to UMass Memorial Hospital by his friends where he subsequently died from his gun shot wounds on Thursday evening.


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