Newtown man cops to $2.5 million “friends and family” fraud

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut said Thursday Garrett L. Denniston, 62, formerly of Newtown and Maine, pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud related to a seven-year fraud that took 50 people for $2.5 million.
“This defendant operated an investment fraud scheme by representing to investors that he ran a successful investment business and could offer them a special ‘friends and family’ deal investing in companies for a guaranteed return of their investment plus a high rate of interest,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein.  “I commend the FBI and the Greenwich Police Department for shutting down this scheme, and I urge the investing public to be extremely skeptical of any promises of risk-free investments and guaranteed returns.”

Denniston, according to court records ran a company called ConsensusOne and attracted investors from approximately 2005 to 2012, claiming to have special investment options on merging companies under a friends and family deal. But the stocks were non existent, the government said.

As in other cases, there were faked documents and money from one investor was used to pay others.

Denniston apparently blew much of the money on luxuries and having fun, using some of the money for gifts to family members, airfare, hotels, restaurants, country club memberships, golf and ski outings, mortgage and rent payments, cable and telephone bills, furniture, home renovation costs, and other personal living expenses, the government said.

The former Newtown resident is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11 and he faces a maximum prison term of 20 years.

Rob Varnon