A Miami Beach, Florida, man is potentially looking at serving 30 years in prison after a grand jury indicted him on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the man was arrested April 29 and detained in Miami for allegedly engaging in a house-flipping scheme. The fraud worked by using shell companies and "straw buyers" to fool lenders into loaning them money on property, which he then resold. This reportedly caused lenders to lose approximately $2.75 million in the process.
The U.S. Attorney says that the mortgage fraud originated sometime back in the mid-2000s. That is when the defendant allegedly bought around 24 properties in Hillsborough, Florida, for roughly $2.3 million. He allegedly quickly resold those same properties to a collection of straw buyers who had good credit histories for around $3.7 million. The defendant reportedly used this complex series of transaction to resell the properties at much higher prices.
Along with the formal indictment is also a provision that advises the defendant that the government will be looking to seize any assets which can be traced back to the crime as proceeds of a criminal enterprise.
People charged with federal crimes are often overwhelmed with the fear of having the full weight of the government against them. They need to remember that the founding fathers of our nation had the foresight to embed legal protections into the Bill of Rights in our constitution precisely for that same reason. Every criminal defendant needs to remember that he or she is presumed innocent until the prosecution proves each charge against them beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, defendants have a right to examine and challenge any evidence or witnesses used to prove their guilt.
Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal, "Miami man indicted for alleged house-flipping scam in Hillsborough County" Eric Snider, May. 14, 2014