Archives For Florida

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) that will temporarily require certain U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York, and Miami-Dade County, Florida. FinCEN is concerned that all-cash purchases – i.e., those without bank financing – may be conducted by individuals attempting to hide their assets and identity by purchasing residential properties through limited liability companies or other opaque structures. To enhance availability of information pertinent to mitigating this potential money laundering vulnerability, FinCEN will require certain title insurance companies to identify and report the true “beneficial owner” behind a legal entity involved in certain high-end residential real estate transactions in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County. Continue Reading…

Jason Pond, 38, Spring Hill, Florida, pled guilty to making a false statement in an application to obtain a HUD loan.

According to the plea agreement, on September 28, 2010, Pond purchased his home in Spring Hill, Florida, for $110,000.  Along with his wife, they received a loan of $49,650 from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, as a second mortgage on the home.  This loan program would not have required Pond to repay the loan if he lived in the home for 15 years.

In an application to participate in the program, Pond provided false and incomplete information related to his debts, assets, employment, income, and tax returns. One example of a debt that he failed to disclose was a loan that he had received from another government program to obtain a different home. He also did not disclose income he earned from his DJ business, or that he owned certain assets, including two cars and a boat.

Pond faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III and investigated by the HUD Office of Inspector General and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam M. Saltzman.

 

Joseph L. Pasquale, 39, Fort Myers, Florida was found guilty by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Pasquale worked as a real estate sales associate for a brokerage firm based in Cape Coral, Florida. Between October 2007 and March 2008, he was involved in the negotiation and sale of four condominium units at the Arbors of Carrollwood, to clients in California and Massachusetts. Pasquale engaged in a conspiracy to conceal sales incentives from mortgage lenders, which these clients received from the seller, along with private loans that Pasquale made to the buyer-clients enabling them to bring cash to their respective real estate closings. As a consequence of his actions, Pasquale helped to cause a loss of approximately $937,000 to Wells Fargo Bank when the mortgages involved in the case went into foreclosure.

Pasquale faces a maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment for each count. His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April 8, 2016.

The verdict was announced by United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Housing Finance Agency-Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor and Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.

David W. Griffin, 44, Lutz, to three years in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and making a false statement during a bankruptcy proceeding.

According to court documents, Griffin operated a foreclosure rescue scheme through his companies, Bay2Bay Area Holding, LLC and Business Development Consultants, LLC.  The purpose of the scheme was to obtain quitclaim or warranty deeds from distressed homeowners facing foreclosure in return for false promises to rescue their homes from foreclosure by negotiating with creditors, renting the properties back to the homeowners to obtain rental income, and falsely promising that the homeowners could repurchase the properties from Griffin. To maximize his rental income, Griffin also prevented creditors and guarantors, including the Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration, from pursuing lawful foreclosure and eviction actions against homeowners who had defaulted on their mortgages. This was accomplished by filing, and causing to be filed, fraudulent bankruptcies in the names of the homeowners without their knowledge or consent.  Continue Reading…

Fred Davis Clark, Jr., a/k/a Dave Clark, 57, formerly of Monroe County, Florida, was convicted after a five week trial, of three counts of bank fraud, and three counts of making a false statement to a financial institution, all in connection with a $300 million fraud scheme involving the sale of vacation rental units involving Cay Clubs Resorts and Marinas (Cay Clubs), to approximately 1,400 investors in the Florida Keys and elsewhere.  Clark also was convicted of obstruction of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in connection with the SEC’s efforts to investigate his conduct related to Cay Clubs.

According to evidence submitted in court, Clark was the Chief Executive Officer of Cay Clubs, which operated from 2004 through 2008 from offices in the Florida Keys and Clearwater.  Cay Clubs marketed vacation rental units for 17 locations in Florida, Las Vegas and the Caribbean, to investors throughout the United States.  Cay Clubs raised more than $300 million from investors by promising to develop dilapidated properties into luxury resorts, and promising investors an upfront “leaseback” payment of 15 to 20% of the sales price of the unit at the time of closing.  Evidence at trial showed that, in reality, Cay Clubs never developed the properties it had promised to investors and that they remained in a dilapidated condition.  Continue Reading…

Gary Patton Hall Jr., 49, Tifton, Georgia, the former president and Chief Executive Officer of Tifton Banking Company (from August 2005 to June 2010) pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States in connection with his role in a bank fraud scheme in which he hid underperforming and at-risk loans from the bank and the FDIC.

According to facts stipulated in the plea agreement, while president and Chief Executive Officer of TBC, Mr. Hall was engaged in an ongoing scheme to mislead the bank and its loan committee about loans TBC made to local individuals and businesses.   As part of the scheme, Mr. Hall hid past due loans from the FDIC and the TBC loan committee, which resulted in the bank continuing to approve and renew delinquent loans and loans for which the collateral was lacking.   Several of the borrowers eventually defaulted on the loans, resulting in millions of dollars in losses to TBC and others. Continue Reading…

Jaime Olaya Marroquin, a/k/a Jaime Olaya, 53, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for arranging a fraudulent short sale of a 10-acre residential property in Southwest Ranches, Florida. Marroquin previously pled guilty to one count of bank fraud.  As part of his plea agreement, Olaya agreed to forfeit the 10-acre property involved in the transaction.

According to court documents, in 2005, Olaya purchased a 10-acre residential property in Southwest Ranches, Florida. In 2008, he quitclaimed ½ of the property to AJZ Investments (AJZ), a company he controlled. To avoid having to continue making payments on the $1.6 million mortgage debt, Olaya submitted a request to the bank for a short sale on the property while intentionally excluding the portion of the property he quitclaimed to AJZ. Continue Reading…

George Kalivretenos, 59, Miami Beach, Florida, was sentenced to 84 months in prison for a wire fraud and money laundering scheme in which he defrauded borrowers of approximately $5.6 million. Kalivretenos was also ordered to pay $4.18 million in restitution as part of his sentence.

Kalivrentenos pleaded guilty on August 13, 2015. According to court documents, Kalivretenos operated and controlled Jasmine Capital and Jasmine Resources Capital Group, which were lending entities. He also owned and controlled two escrow companies, Escrow Services, LLC, and Escrow Title Services, LLC. Kalivretenos promised to lend companies and individuals millions of dollars after they sent a deposit of 10 percent of the loan amount to a third party escrow company. However, Kalivretenos concealed his control over the escrow company from borrowers. Once the escrow company received the borrowers’ deposits, Kalivretenos spent borrowers’ funds on personal expenses, including two Rolls Royces, a penthouse condominium rented at $18,000 per month, and hotel stays at the Ritz Carlton and Crowne Plaza. He also transferred substantial funds to overseas accounts. Continue Reading…

George Price, 42, a former Miami-Dade Police Department officer, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for his participation in a wire fraud scheme, arising out of the operation of a series of credit repair businesses.  Price previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez

According to court documents, Price and his co-conspirators participated in a scheme to provide false police reports to individuals operating credit repair businesses. A co-conspirator would provide Price with identifying information of credit business customers. Price would then create false police reports, using the customers’ identifying information. The police reports would falsely represent that the customers had reported to the Miami-Dade Police Department facts consistent with having been victims of identity theft.  Price would cause the false police reports to become official records of the Miami-Dade Police Department. A member of the conspiracy would cause the false police reports created by Price to be transmitted to credit reporting agencies in order to induce the removal of negative items from the credit histories of the alleged victims identified in the false police reports. Price created the false police reports in order to promote the success of the credit businesses and in return would receive payment from his co-conspirators.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), made the announcement. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force and MDPD Professional Compliance Bureau. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis.

Feds dismiss charges against Brazilian in Miami bank-fraud case

Brazilian Arnaldo Prado flew into Miami for Easter weekend to visit with his mother on exclusive Fisher Island. Prado had made the trip many times before, but this one would be different.

More than a dozen FBI agents arrested him and his mother, Maura Lopes, on charges of participating in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme along with four others — including the mother’s ex-husband, who is Prado’s former stepfather.

 But after Prado was jailed without bond for six months at a federal detention center in Miami, the U.S. attorney’s office dismissed the charges this week against the 34-year-old sugar farmer — without explanation.