Four Arrested in $1.2M Retirement Fund Scheme
A group effort from Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has resulted in the end of a $1.2 million money laundering scheme that targeted the elderly and others with retirement accounts. The scheme is believed to have targeted the retirement funds of at least 17 people across the country. So far, four people have been arrested in connection with using fraudulent shell companies to broker the sale of precious metals investment options. It is believed that less than one percent of the funds withdrawn from the victims’ retirement funds were actually used for investments in the precious metals.
Specifics of the Scheme
The targeted people, many of whom were elderly, were assured that the precious stone investment opportunity would result in quick profits. However, in reality their funds were pocketed and allegedly not used as they were supposed to in the precious metal investment option. This money laundering scheme had two parts, both of which involved explicitly illegal activities. The first part involved targeting victims, the majority of them senior citizens. The accused would entice the victims into using their life savings to purchase investment options in the precious stone investment opportunity. However, the funds were pocketed by the criminals, and hardly any of the funds were actually used in the investments. The result was not only the loss of funds, but also the loss of the victims’ much needed future retirement security.
The second part of the investment/money laundering scheme involved the fraudulent submission of documents in order to provide false legitimacy for the investment fraud scheme. This was done through the creation of shell companies under the following names: Project Insider Development Investments, LLC, JDC United Metals, Corp., Bowman & Poole, Inc., Cavallo Consulting Group, Inc., DMR & BMR Corp., DRBR Financial, Inc., JD&A Investment Services, Inc. and Project Insider, Inc. The defendants submitted fraudulent articles of incorporation to the Florida Division of Corporations in order to legitimize the shell companies. Once the shell companies were incorporated, the companies were then used to open over 30 bank accounts. These bank accounts were used in order to accept checks and/or wired funds from the scheme’s victims for the supposed investments.
A collaborative investigation has resulted in the arrest of four defendants, though two defendants still remain at large. These defendants are been charged with a broad assortment of crimes, including racketeering information to conduct fraudulent securities transactions, grand theft, unlicensed telemarketing, and money laundering. If the defendants are found guilty of these charges, they will face significant prison sentences, fines will be imposed and they will be required to pay restitution to their victims.
The arrests of the money laundering participants represents a big win for the State of Florida. Though fraud is on the rise in Florida, the state has increased manpower and concerted initiatives across law enforcement departments in order to investigate fraudulent activities.
Can Our Attorney Help?
Facing charges for money laundering should only be done with the help of an experienced attorney. If you need a criminal defense attorney, contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. in South Florida today.