Alex Schleider, 49, Lakewood, New Jersey, man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for his part in a real estate investment fraud scheme that defrauded real estate investors of more than $1 million by persuading them to fund the purported purchase of an apartment complex, Belle Glade Gardens.
The defendant previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud. Judge Pisano imposed the sentence in Trenton federal court.
As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog and according to statements made in court:
Schleider, Eliyahu Weinstein, 39, Lakewood, and the other defendants persuaded victims to invest in the purported purchase of an apartment complex, “Belle Glade Gardens,” in Florida. They told the victims that Weinstein had the opportunity to purchase Belle Glade Gardens at a discounted price and immediately flip it at a substantial profit. Schleider and Weinstein further told the victims that Weinstein had already placed $2.5 million in the trust account of a Miami law firm for the transaction; that if the victims contributed another $2.5 million toward the transaction, those funds would remain in escrow at the Miami law firm until the deal closed; and that the victims would be repaid within 60 days.
The victims wired $2.83 million to the Miami law firm in order to complete the Belle Glades Gardens transaction. Schleider and Weinstein did not use the money to purchase Belle Glades Gardens. Instead, they redirected the money from the law firm to accounts that they controlled, returned $1.8 million to the victims as a purported return on a prior Facebook investment, and used the remaining money for their own purposes.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Pisano Schleider to serve three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $613,200 and forfeiture of $363,200.
Weinstein, 39, also pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in the scheme and is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 15, 2014. Charges against a third conspirator, Aaron Muschel, 64, Brooklyn, New York, who was charged in the criminal complaint filed against Weinstein and Schleider in May 2013, remain pending.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the sentence.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Aaron T. Ford in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, for their role in the investigation.
The government is represented by Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig; Gurbir S. Grewal, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater, Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Unit; and Evan S. Weitz of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.