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Federal prosecutors pursue Lebanese-American businessman for fraud

Ramon DeSage is charged with allegedly deceiving investors out of $190 million and defrauding the IRS out of $31 million. (File Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

(LAS VEGAS, NV) — A Lebanese-American businessman could face more charges in a $190 million federal fraud case, as a federal grand jury recently issued additional subpoenas to testify against the high-rolling entrepreneur.

Ramon DeSage, 64, was charged with allegedly deceiving investors out of $190 million and defrauding the IRS out of $31 million. He is charged with 52 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.

According to court documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the grand jury issued subpoenas for witnesses to testify and provide transactions involving DeSage and his luxury gift supply business.

His company, Cadeau Express, was allegedly used to defraud investors between 2005 and 2012. According to the indictment, DeSage pocketed the money in the scheme to repay earlier investors, maintain his wealthy lifestyle, and cover millions of dollars in gambling losses at casinos along the Strip.

Court documents recently unveiled the names of several suspected victims, including former casino executive William Richardson, who allegedly lost $40 million in investments with DeSage.

DeSage and two of his employees have pleaded not guilty to felony charges. His trial, which is now set to begin on Jan. 26, has been delayed 10 times.

DeSage, also known as Ramon Abi-Rached, is currently under electronically monitored home detention since his arrest three years ago, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Damm has said in court that DeSage owned a 40,000-square-foot palace in Lebanon and more than $10 million in real estate holdings.

According to DeSage’s website, he was born into a “prestigious family” in Lebanon, educated in France, and worked for UNESCO for some time.

His website also says he is a “philanthropist” with a “noble character” and a “true example to all of us.”

DeSage has not been active on his Twitter account since Jan. 22, 2014, where he described himself as being “proud” of his Lebanese heritage. He also mentions he is a “father of seven children.”

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