CA Man Pleads Guilty To Construction Escrow Fraud

admin —  February 9, 2009 — 2 Comments

Howard A. Sperling, 44, San Diego, California, pleaded guilty in federal district court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his part in a scheme to defraud a California construction firm of nearly $13 million.

According to the information presented in court: From August 2003 through January 2004, Sperling and his co-defendants conspired to defraud Cornell Corrections of California, Inc., a private company that operates corrections facilities for various governmental units. In June of 2003, Cornell Corrections contracted to have a corrections facility built in Canon City, Colorado for $13 million. The $13 million purchase price was to be held in an escrow account until the facility was completed.

In August 2003, Sperling and his co-defendants induced Cornell Corrections to transfer its $13 million to an account in Atlanta controlled by co-defendant, Edgar J. Beaudreault, by falsely representing to Cornell that the account was an escrow account that was administered by a reputable bank. Upon receipt of Cornell Corrections‘ $13 million, Sperling and his co-defendants, Beaudreault and Robert B. Surles, wire transferred the majority of Cornell’s $13 million to other accounts to be used for their own purposes. Most of the money was disbursed to the accounts of the three co-conspirators. Sperling withdrew $365,000 in cash, transferred $400,000 to personal and family members’ accounts, paid $215,000 to banks and credit card companies, $85,000 to a Harrah’s Casino and $60,000 for a luxury Mercedes Benz automobile.

Sperling was indicted in August 2008 on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2009, at 4 p.m., before United States District Judge Clarence Cooper.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Bernita Malloy and David McClernan are prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact Sally Quillian Yates, Acting United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is .

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2 responses to CA Man Pleads Guilty To Construction Escrow Fraud

  1. Roger Silveira April 2, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I invested 200k into a real estate deal. We were to purchase a property and sub divide lots and build homes. My brother and I had 100k in an escrow account for the purchase of this property. At close of escrow the person that brought us into the real estate investment with the guides of a LLC named PALS he had created and we would used to develop the property. To make long story short he forged documents at escrow to obtain the 100k in escrow and titled to property to himself. Under pressure of a quick close and the threat of losing the 100k in the escrow account I gave him anther 100k he demanded or we miss the purchase option deadline and be out our deposit.This guy forged documents, lied about the LLC that never existed and tried to sell property for a huge profit and went as far as writing a sales contract indicating we had no financial interest in the property. He can not sell the property and won’t give my money back. Claim we are now partners and should both take the lose together. When he thought he was going to make a bunch of money we had no financial interest now that he can’t sell we should be 50/50 partners in the loses.

    Broke and don’t know what to do

  2. Consider 2 houses each worth about $900.000 with first and second mortgages equal or greater than their value. Both owned by the same individual. Suddenly and on the same day, additional liens for $1,250,000 are place on each house. Why?……Mike

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