Jersey City man sentenced to eight years for theft from investors

TRENTON – Evan Kochav, 34, of Jersey City, was sentenced to eight years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Critchl for stealing over half a million dollars from clients of his investment firm and spending the money on personal expenses, including playing poker at casinos and gambling on poker websites, according to a release from Acting New Jersey Attorney General Robert Lougy.
Lougy said Kochav pleaded guilty on Dec. 16 to second-degree charges of theft by deception and money laundering. He was sentenced to five years on the theft charge and a consecutive sentence of three years on the money laundering charge. He will be ordered to pay restitution to the victims totaling in excess of $464,000, with the specific amount, which will factor in funds previously paid back, to be determined at a later date.
Between October 2012 and April 2014, Lougy said, Kochav stole approximately $561,745 that he solicited from 10 investors, often urging the investors to transfer funds from existing accounts at other brokerage firms. He promised to invest the funds in various business interests and investment vehicles.
In June 2013, Kochav formed White Cedar Group, LLC, which he marketed as an economic consulting firm that purportedly had relationships with a variety of investment groups and business partners in various industries worldwide, including real estate, manufacturing, building development, oil drilling and mineral rights. In reality, Kochav diverted the investor funds, using them to pay personal expenses or to make nominal payments to investors to cover up the scam.
According to Lougy, Kochav, a professional poker play, laundered at least $274,000 through several bank accounts and spent a large amount of the investor money at casinos in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Costa Rica, and on at least two poker websites.
Lougy said he also transferred investor funds to his wife and misused investor funds to pay for shopping, dining, air travel, hotels, football tickets and other entertainment.
“This investment broker stole the savings of his clients so that he could gamble and entertain himself, depriving his victims of over half a million dollars in hard-earned money that they were counting on for their families and retirement,” said Lougy. “For his part, Kochav certainly earned one thing, and that is this lengthy prison sentence.”

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group